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Chernobyl guests enjoy a breather

PUBLISHED: 16:44 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:02 23 August 2010

GUESTS: The youngsters met the mayor and mayoress Ken and Evelyn Jones.

GUESTS: The youngsters met the mayor and mayoress Ken and Evelyn Jones.

CHILDREN from the site of the world s worst nuclear disaster have spent a month in north Kent to help improve their health and increase their life expectancy. Twenty five children from Chernobyl, in Belarus, have been staying with host families in Graves

CHILDREN from the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster have spent a month in north Kent to help improve their health and increase their life expectancy.

Twenty five children from Chernobyl, in Belarus, have been staying with host families in Gravesend and Dartford, organised by the charity Concern for Chernobyl Children.

The area still suffers the effects of nuclear contamination, after the explosion at a power station in April 1986 that was one hundred times worse than the combined Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs dropped at the end of the Second World War.

A break from the contamination for the children in Chernobyl is said to boost their immune system by more than two years.

Last Wednesday, the group, which arrived on July 25, were taken on a trip to Dymchurch by five members of the Northfleet and Ebbsfleet Lions Club.

Roger Francis, 65, the president of the club said: "You can see that these children get a tremendous amount out of their stay over here, but it also quite a humbling experience for us to see that it makes such a difference.

"Just a simple trip like this one to the seaside can really change their lives, just a few weeks over in England and it gives them a chance to recoup and build their body's immune system.

"It was a great day and despite some awful weather, not at any point did one member of the group moan or complain, they are just happy to be here."

Last Sunday all of the group and the host families attended a barbecue in Luddesdown, organised by a Karen Kilcullen, a committee member for Concern for Chernobyl Children.

Mrs Kilcullen, 44, said: "It was a superb day, and the children loved it. It gives them a chance to all get together and take part in a lot of activities."

During their stay the group have visited the BT tower in London, had a picnic at Cascades Leisure centre and taken part in an activity day at St Georges Church. On Tuesday the group met with the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesend, Ken Jones and Evelyn Jones, at the Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend. They are set to leave tomorrow.

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