Chernobyl children return safely home
A group of children from Ossipovichi in Belarus said goodbye to Pembrokeshire last Sunday, after spending a month in the county as guests of the north Pembrokeshire link of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline.
The children come from an area still heavily contaminated with radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl explosion. They come to Pembrokeshire during the time that the Bellarussian winter is at its harshest and their bodies most susceptible to illness and infection.
During their four week stay in Pembrokeshire they live with host families and enjoy a variety of activities and day trips, most of them are provided free of charge by the county's various tourist attractions, with other activities being subsidised by local charities and personal donations.
Although one of the intentions of the trip is to provide the children with the holiday of a lifetime, another equally important aim is to add years to the children's lives.
Bryon Alabaster, chairman of the north Pembrokeshire link, which fundraises throughout the year in order to bring the children to Wales, explained that one month in Pembrokeshire could add years to the children's lives.
"What we are trying to do is reduce the amount of heavy metals in their blood," said Bryon. "we are trying to get it down to a level which is more or less the same as someone in this country."
He explained one way of doing this was by giving the children plenty of fresh fruit, the pectin in the fruit absorbing the ceasium in the children's blood.
"The doctors in Belarus are telling us that we can put up to two years on the children's life expectancy," he said. "And for us that's a big reward."
Log on to our video news later this week to see a short film about the children's visit.