Provost Helen Moonie has welcomed 10 young girls from Chernobyl to South Ayrshire Council headquarters during their visit to the area, organised by the Ayrshire Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline.
The charity is one of eight supported by the Council and was formed in 1992, as a response to the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in 1986, which put millions of children at high risk of developing cancer, leukaemia or other illnesses.
Belarus and Ukraine received more than 70% of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in April 1986 and the harmful effects are still being felt today – 25 years on. Radiation has contaminated the food supply of humans and animals and many children are born with severe disabilities or illness including thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia.
Every year, groups of children from these areas come to the UK for respite care from the effects of radioactive contamination and South Ayrshire has a long history of welcoming the children.
During their stay, the girls all received free medical check-ups, health and dental care, while staying with host families and Council staff went the extra mile by donating items the children consider as luxuries at home – soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, hair clips, socks, pyjamas and underwear.
The gifts were presented to the delighted children during their visit to County Buildings and Provost Moonie said: “It is an absolute privilege to welcome these young people to South Ayrshire and I was thrilled we could present them with a box of gifts to take home.
“It is a joy to help them and I’ve no doubt their stay with us, where they can enjoy fresh air, a healthy diet, medical and dental treatment – as well as a lot of fun – really does help improve their health.
“It’s a fantastic charity and I look forward to welcoming more children from Chernobyl in 2015.”
Michael Lafferty, Scottish Co-ordinator and Chairman of the Ayrshire Link for Chernobyl Child Lifeline, said: “Our aim is to make a difference to the lives of children from the Chernobyl region and the welcome the children get when in South Ayrshire is superb.”
“We’re always looking for host families for the young people who come to visit. If anyone is interested in getting involved, contact me on 07813 650411 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
For further information on Chernobyl Child Life Line, visit www.ccll.org.uk/ayrshire.