Children from the Chernobyl disaster area of the Ukraine and Belarus have been brought to Romsey as part of a respite programme.
The youngsters visited the town and had a free trip to the pool at The Rapids for a day of carefree fun.
Children who live in the nuclear catastrophe zone are brought to the UK for a break away from the area and a few weeks of relaxation and normal childhood by the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity.
The atmosphere in Belarus and Ukraine is much improved. But even the young people who weren’t born until many years later still carry the legacy on the 1986 meltdown – considered the worst in history – in terms of health problems and fear.
Research suggests that many thousands of young people will develop cancer caused by the radiation leak and the raised levels for many years to come.
During the trip away the children try to have as much fresh air and fun as possible and the charity and their host families organise a series of special events to entertain them including a fun swim at The Rapids, a visit to Marwell Zoo and a day trip to Go Ape.
Jo Cullimore, link chair for the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line said: “Each year we arrange for Chernobyl children to have a four week recuperative break, away from contaminated food, water and air which boosts their immune systems and makes a real difference to their health and well being.”
Chris Attrill, customer engagement manager with Valley Leisure who welcomed the children to The Rapids said: “We can only imagine what it must be like to live near a place that’s synonymous with such an enormous disaster. We can’t change their whole lives, but we’re very happy to do our bit by giving them a day of fun in the water.”
Chernobyl is near the border of Ukraine and Belarus and 70% of the radiation from the disaster fell in the Belarus area.
Charities like the Chernobyl Children Life Line charity provide supplies and support and give children respite visits in the UK.