A CHARITY is looking for host families to help accommodate child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster visiting Wirral for the 'holiday of a lifetime' later this year.

A group of youngsters from Belarus will be in the borough from June 2 to 30, on a month-long break away from the radiation that is still present in their country more than 30 years after the explosion.

The annual trip has been organised by the Wirral Link, part of Chernobyl Children's Life Line (CCLL) and will see the children stay with Wirral people in a bid to boost their health.

Whilst the charity organises lots of daytime activities, the children can only visit if there are families for them to stay with for the four-week period when they are here.

Appealing to Globe readers for help, Lynne McGonigle, chair of the Wirral Link, said: "We are looking for new families willing to host one or two Belarusian children for either two or four weeks between June 2 and 30."

Lynne, whose family have hosted two visiting children for a number of years, continued: "I can say that it is enormously rewarding to have them with us.

"They really do become part of the family for a month and I have on-going contact with most of the 17 boys and girls who have stayed with us.

"We organise a full programme of visits and activities and it is great fun to see them experiencing lots of new things.

"Most of them have never seen the sea for instance.

"As well as local activities with schools, youth and community groups and Wirral Metropolitan College we include excursions to a safari park and Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a weekend at Colomendy outdoor centre near Mold." 

The life-changing explosion took place on April 26, 1986, when a failed experiment at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine set fire to the reactor core and blew the top off the building.

The wind carried the radiation cloud north over the border into Belarus where more than 60% of the radiation fell.

The ground was heavily contaminated and will continue to be so for thousands of years.

The poisonous radioactive contamination will remain in large parts of Belarus and Ukraine for thousands of years.

Children are particularly susceptible to radiation induced illnesses and many have leukaemia, cancer of the thyroid and other cancers.

A month in Britain - where they can eat cleaner food, breathe cleaner air and build up strength - can greatly improve life expectancy Hence there is an on-going need for the work that this local charity has been doing each year for more than 20 years.

Whilst enjoying a holiday of a lifetime, the boys and girls visiting the Wirral at the age of 9 to 11 get the opportunity to spend a vital month away from the radio-active contamination in their homeland to help develop crucial immunities for their adolescent years.

Any readers who might be interested in the rewarding activity of hosting one or two Chernobyl Children can contact Lynne McGonigle by email at lynneccll@outlook.com or by phoning 0151 339 5249.