A GROUP of youngsters affected by the Chernobyl disaster had their first glimpse of the seaside during a summer stay with South Yorkshire families.
A band of 11 children from Belarus were treated to their first taste of the clean, fresh air of the British coastline on a trip from Sheffield to Cleethorpes.
The grand day out was organised by Chernobyl Children’s Life Line and train company First Transpennine Express.
Every year, the Sheffield branch of the charity invites young people from Stolin – an impoverished area of the country badly contaminated by the 1986 disaster – to stay with families in the city.
Their mission is designed to improve the children’s life expectancy by providing them with clean food, water and fresh air.
It is believed four weeks of respite allows their immune systems to recover from heavy contamination.
It is the fifth year the children have been given free travel by the train company.
The youngsters had fun playing in the sand.
Mike Ring, a volunteer for Sheffield’s Chernobyl Children’s Life Line, said: “Most of these children have never seen the sea before, so to have the opportunity to take them to the seaside for the day and let them play on the beach is amazing. “The children really enjoyed their day out, we really do appreciate the support of First Transpennine Express.
The children also get dental and eye care and clean clothes during their visit to the UK.
Said Mike: “Coming from such a poor country, the majority of children arrive with just a small carrier bag of things. “We want to make sure they go home with clean clothes and their eyes and teeth checked over, in addition to their immune systems having recovered.”
Kate Lamb, improvement and community manager for FTPE, said: “It’s a pleasure to take these children for a day out at the seaside.”