A charity providing respite to children growing up in areas blighted by the fallout from the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster is looking for people to host them this summer.
The Mid-Surrey Link of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity hopes to invite a group of vulnerable children to the area for a respite holiday for the 13th year in a row - but can only do so if volunteers sign up this month to help as a host or support.
The children, who live in either Belarus or the Ukraine, are from areas contaminated by the 1986 disaster whose affects will be felt there for thousands of years to come.
The youngsters are placed, in pairs, with hosts for two weeks. There is a schedule of activities for all the children to participate in, some of which the hosts can join in with. ‘Supports’ are appointed to each host to help with the children.
Hosts and supports need to be within easy reach of Epsom where the children regularly meet up.
Kathy Orme, from Mole Valley, hosted two boys for the charity last Summer and urged others to sign up this year.
The 54-year-old said: "Just one month's respite away from the contamination can extend these children's live expectancy by up to two years.
"In addition, the children's immune systems are greatly improved by the chance to eat uncontaminated food, and by breathing in fresher, cleaner air.
"As soon as we saw the boys we were hosting, Sasha and Vlad, their smiling faces put us at ease, and we knew it was going to be fine.
"Although the boys spoke Russian, which we didn't, it was surprisingly easy to communicate even with the language barrier.
"The boys we hosted we saw thrive before our eyes, energy levels improved and appetites. Even their skin was looking better by the time they needed to go home."
As part of last year’s trip, the children were taken to the dentist and optician during their stay.
The dates for this year's visit are July 18 to August 1, and August 1 to August 15. Hosts are required to sign up for both sets of fortnights.
To get involved call Kathy on 01293 734813, Tessa on 01372 741228 or Liz on 01372 720419.
The closing date for new applications is March 30. For more information click here.