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Broadland Business Park played host on 8th July to a group of 19 children (15 girls and four boys) from the Chernobyl area of Belarus, the area devastated by the nuclear disaster in 1986. The children enjoyed a barbecue and the hospitality of many of the businesses on the park as well as coming away with a ‘goody bag’ of gifts and presents, Start-rite shoes and a box of fresh fruit each from D & F McCarthy.

This superb video shows some of the highlights of the children's visit to East Anglia – and is well worth watching.

The children are in East Anglia for a four-week break and are aged from 7 to 10 years old. The visit is arranged by the Mid Suffolk Link of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline. The charity brings groups of children to the UK for respite holidays. All of these children are living in areas of Belarus still affected by the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster, even though it happened over 28 years ago.

They started their visit to Broadland Business Park with a trip to Start-rite Shoes, where they selected shoes from the company’s outlet shop to take home before going to fruit and vegetable merchants D & F McCarthy, where they were given a trip round the company’s extensive warehouse. 

The visit, the third one to Broadland Business Park, saw many of the Park’s businesses contributing, including D & F McCarthy cooking the barbecue and providing salad and strawberries and cream, Makro contributing sausages, chicken burgers and buns, Bertrams Books supplying books and staff at NatWest gifting a range of toys and games.

The barbecue itself was supplied by Broadland District Council, while Wangford Farm Shop supplied the gas for cooking. The children enjoyed a ride in a truck, courtesy of Brand of Beccles, and climbed aboard Seething Airfield’s fire engine, and PCSOs Sarah McCue and Ross Mullinger arrived in a police car.

Joanna Thornton, estate manager, said: “It is fantastic how the businesses have come together to give these children a brilliant day out. It all started with Start-rite who have been supplying shoes to Chernobyl children for some years. To now turn their visit into an annual event is a great way to work together in aid of children who live a very challenging life.”

70% of the radiation fallout from the nuclear disaster in 1986 was focused on Belarus. 31 people died in the Chernobyl disaster and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for. Models predict that by 2065 about 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 cases of other cancers may be expected due to radiation.

Martin McCarthy added: "I've got a long list of thank yous for helping out at such an enjoyable barbecue and on a very touching day:

Bertram Books – Sticker and Colouring books
NatWest Bank – staff raised £80 and purchased folders with pens/colour pencils, rulers, erasers etc
Jayne – our accounts lady – all the cuddly toys
Chiquita (banana suppliers) – Minion stickers and fridge magnets
Makro – meat and rolls  
Ray Miller at Wangford Farm Shop – gas for the barbecue
Broadland District Council – loan of the barbecue
Simon and the Seething Fire Crew – fire engine
PCSOs Sarah McCue and Ross Mullinger – police vehicle
Matthew at Brands – Renault truck unit
Calum – Barbecue chef
McCarthys – premises and time."