Several children from the Chernobyl area of Ukraine have enjoyed a special recuperative holiday to the Isle of Wight.

The group of eight youngsters aged between ten and 12 were treated to a range of activities during a three week break on the Island organised by the charity Island Hosts. It is the 11th time Island Hosts has arranged the visit and once again the group has expressed its thanks to supporters of the project which includes the Isle of Wight College and Wightlink.

This year’s trip included visits to Amazon World, Godshill Model Village, Blackgang Chine, the Isle of Wight College, UKSA, Tapnell Farm, Brown’s Golf Course, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and the Isle of Wight Zoo. A visit to the luxury cruise ship Marina operated by the Oceana Group was a particular highlight this year.

The idea of the visits has historically been to provide a recuperative break to people whose lives has been affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Island Hosts spokesman Paul Smith explains: “Spending time away from their home environment greatly decreases the amount of radioactive contamination within the children’s bodies and allows their immune system to strengthen prior to the onset of puberty when cancers tend to strike.”

But this year, the trip has also provided respite for a young girl whose family had moved to escape the war in the east of the country and a child whose father had died days before she left for the Island.

“Whatever the reason they are here, the Island provides a fantastic sanctuary for these children and for three weeks they are able to enjoy a carefree time – as all youngsters should be able to.”

Paul adds: “Island Hosts raises the £500 it costs to bring each child to the Island through a series of events each year and we rely on the tremendous generosity of Island people and businesses to continue our work.

“But it is a real team effort. Besides Wightlink who give us free travel and the Isle of Wight College who lend their minibus for airport transfers, many Island attractions allow us free entry and our wonderful host families provide free board and accommodation and transport children to the daily outings across the island as well as providing clothes as many children arrive with little as their parents cannot afford a change of attire.”

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “Once again we were delighted to support Island Hosts. We hope the visit gave the youngsters a wonderful experience and that they will take away with them some special memories of the Island.”

Pictured: Visitors from Chernobyl enjoy crossing the Solent on St Cecilia

Notes to editors

Island Hosts was formed in September 2007 to provide month long recuperative breaks for children from the Chernobyl area of the Ukraine. It is the Island branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline formed in 1992 to provide a national response to the disaster.

The main charity also supports children’s cancer hospitals and families struggling to care for child cancer victims in a country largely without meaningful health care provision.

For more information contact Karen Woods on 07775 694266 or karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk.


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