How Sheffield festival is giving a lifeline to the children of Chernobyl

A charity do taking place in Sheffield this month will help children living with the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.

Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 17:30 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 12:49 pm
Antoine Desespringalle and Joanne Ridley who are the organisers of Postlines Festival to help children from Chernobyl. Picture: Dean Atkins

Postlines, at Heeley City Farm, is being organised by the Sheffield branch of the charity Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL).

Organisers Joanne Ridley and Antoine Desespringalle are hoping to top the £3,200 that was raised last summer.

CCLL flies in children from areas of Belarus and Ukraine worst affected by the 1986 nuclear accident, which has caused thousands of radiation deaths.

The children who will be visiting Sheffield this year from Belarus. They are pictured collecting their visas in Minsk.

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The charity treats the children to respite holidays and six kids will soon arrive in Sheffield. Joanne herself will be part of a host family.

“I just wanted to do something,” she said. “I remember watching it on the news, I was a child when it happened.

“It gets them away from the radiation for a month. It’s a chance for them to get a holiday that they wouldn’t normally get.”

The children will benefit from fresh air and uncontaminated food in Sheffield, as well as having free optician and dental appointments.

Flights and all travel-based costs are paid for by the charity, meaning host families only have to cover living expenses.

Joanne’s family signed up as hosts after she saw a newspaper advert setting out the work of CCLL in helping victims.

Antoine became involved as he is her friend and she knew he had previously put on festivals in Sheffield.

Day-to-day he works for the Royal Mail, which will match all money that is raised on the day.

Joanne credits Sky Atlantic’s recent drama about Chernobyl, which was a huge hit on Netflix, with propelling interest in this year’s festival.

She said: “Everyone’s talking about it. We’re now getting lots of people involved who weren’t born when it happened.”

Postlines is happening at the farm in a field that will be closed off for the event. Entertainment on the day will include a bouncy castle and seven live bands, plus food prepared by Antoine – who is a talented cook – and a range of drinks.

There will be a marquee and a contingency plan in case of wet weather, but the organisers hope the sun will be shining.

Postlines takes place on Saturday, July 27. Advance tickets are £10 per adult and £5 per child.

Email antoine.desespringalle@royalmail.com or call 07912109340 to buy wristbands.