News release text
Around 14 children from the town Koreston in the Ukraine visited the crews at Ashford Fire Station on Saturday (13 July).
Ashford Firefighter Nathan Pavey with one of the Chernobyl childrenThe group - aged between 10 and 16-years-old - are from the areas most affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and were taken on a tour of the station as part of a variety of activities planned by The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity.
This is the sixth year that Ashford Fire Station has hosted visits by the charity. Green Watch Manager Clive Douglas, who oversaw the visit, said: “Many of these children come from very deprived areas so we hope we added a bit of fun and enjoyment to their stay in Kent. We always want them to really enjoy their time with us as well as learning about the work of a firefighter so, as part of the tour, firefighters have arranged to provide each child with a life-saving smoke alarm that will be fitted and maintained by fire and rescue crews in the Ukraine – it could end up saving their life in the event of a fire.”
The group’s month-long visit has been organised by the Chernobyl Children Lifeline, Ashford and New Romney Link.
Every year hundreds of children in the area are diagnosed with leukaemia, bone and thyroid cancer as a result of the nuclear disaster.
The charity brings over 4000 children a year to Britain, who stay with local host families for up to a month for respite holidays, which provide an essential rest from radiation and can extend their lives by up to two years.
Sarah Day, chair of the Link, said: “This is the fifth year that the charity has brought a group of children to the Ashford area and we are especially grateful to Kent Fire and Rescue Service for offering us a tour of the fire station. The children had a wonderful time and were made really welcome by the crews.
This year, two of the children are spending some of their time staying with Kent Fire and Rescue Service Fire Control Operations Manager, Sarah Merriman and her family.
Sarah, who lives near Wingham, said: “I learnt about the charity and the great work it does through KFRS a few years ago, so was it has been a pleasure to welcome the girls into our home for the weekend to spend time with my family. The nice weather meant they could play outdoors with my 11 year-old daughter and get involved in some fun games and activities.”
If you are interested in hosting a child during the next visit, please contact Sarah Day at The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity on 01233 336459.