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Peterborough welcomes Chernobyl children for special stay

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Children suffering from the catastrophic effects of the Chernobyl disaster are being given the chance to enjoy themselves and visit vital services during a month long stay in Peterborough.

Twenty youngsters, aged between seven and 11, have travelled from Belarus, near the disaster zone, to the city with help from charity Friends of Chernobyl Children.

Despite the meltdown at the nuclear plant happening 33 years ago, many children, who live in one of the poorest areas of Belarus, are still suffering conditions including cancer as a result. During their stay, they will be able to see a doctor, dentist and optician, as well as take part in fun activities.

Karen Bampkin, practice manager at Bupa Dental Care Peterborough, who gave the youngsters a dental check up, said: “Sadly, the impact of the Chernobyl disaster is still being felt, even by children who weren’t born at the time. Access to quality healthcare still remains a significant challenge in Ukraine, so we’re keen to support these children in whatever way we can.

“Teaching children to take care of their teeth is so incredibly important. Dental decay is completely preventable, so by promoting good habits now we can help them have a healthy, happy smile for the rest of their lives.

“This is the thirteenth year that the charity has come to visit. During their appointment with us, the children receive a full dental examination, any treatment they need and they leave with a goody bag, including school supplies and tooth-brushing essentials, along with information on how to look after their teeth back at home.

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Friends of Chernobyl’s Children again, as it means we can teach the children how to look after their dental health for the future.”

Cecilia Hammond, Friends of Chernobyl’s Children group co-ordinator, added: “We’d like to thank the staff at Bupa Dental Care Peterborough for giving up their time and accommodating the children. These visits are hugely beneficial for the children who receive health check-ups, English lessons, swimming lessons and a variety of other trips and activities. The whole town has been so supportive.

“As a charity, we are reliant on the goodwill of companies such as Bupa Dental Care and we are very grateful that they are on hand to help provide the children with some much needed care and respite.”

The trip takes place annually, and organisers are looking for more host families in the north of Peterborough and surrounding villages. For details call Cecilia on 07779264591

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