The Chernobyl explosion occurred on the 26th. April, 1986. Initially the effects were played down by the Soviet government of the time, but soon the tremendous increase in the number of childrens thyroid cancers and other radiation related diseases in Belarus and the Ukraine could not be hidden. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine near the southern border of Belarus, which, because of the prevailing wind, received 70% of the fallout.
The aim of the charity is to raise funds to bring Belarussian children to the U.K., for recuperation and convalescence in an environment free from radioactive contamination; and to recruit caring families who are willing and able to accept two children into their homes for a period of two weeks. The charity organises two days of activities each week, but the children's living expenses are borne by the hosts, as the charity is unable to make a contribution.
Just a month away allows the childrens immune systems to recover and enables the children to avoid the debilitating colds and infections, which normally affect them each winter. Obviously the chances of survival for children who have suffered from various cancers or leukaemia will be greatly improved.
All the money raised by the links is used for the transport costs, such as airfares, insurance, airport tax and to provide group leaders/ interpreters who accompany the children during their visit. This adds up to about £300 per child.
The organisation rapidly became a National registered charity, with branches known as Links scattered across the U.K. from the Channel Islands up to Scotland.
The Derby Link sprang from a meeting organised by Ruth Williams in October 1991. There are now over 100 links and the number of children brought to the U.K. nationally has increased from 10 in the first year to 1,600 in1997.
Separate funds may be used to provide medical care for children in Belarus, and to support hospitals and orphanages.
Figure 1; Map of Belarus, showing the most heavily contaminated areas & the position of Chernobyl in the Ukraine.
Our secondary aim, through the 1000 Families project, is to enable British people to give regular financial aid to families which have lost the main bread winner as a result of radiation related diseases, and to foster direct contact and friendship between the people involved.
Figure. 2 One of the organised activities is an afternoon's canoeing on the River Derwent at Darley Abbey provided by Hydrosports.
To help children suffering from radiation
Chair Derby Link, Ruth Williams
16 West Row, Darley Abbey, Derby, DE11 IDN.
Chernobyl Children Lifeline
61 Petworth Rd., Haslemere, GU 27 33AX. Telephone: 01428-642523.
Reg. Charities Act 1960 No.1014274
Lloyds Bank PLC.30.93.94 Links account 7353763
National Chairman V.E. Mizzi
Solicitor H. Sorrel.