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Broadland Business Park played host today (Monday 11th July) to a group of 18 children 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.

The children are in East Anglia for a four-week break and are aged from 7 to 10 years old. The visit is being 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 30 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 fourth one arranged with Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, saw many of the Park’s businesses contributing, with D & F McCarthy leading the welcome, cooking the barbecue and providing salad and strawberries and cream. Makro contributed sausages, burgers and buns, Bertrams Books supplied colouring books and staff at NatWest's Corporate Banking Centre gifted a range of crayons and other gifts for the children. The barbecue itself was supplied by Broadland District Council.

The children enjoyed a ride in a truck, courtesy of Brand of Beccles, climbed aboard Seething Airfield’s fire engine, PCSO Sarah McCue arrived in a police car while the children enjoyed all sorts of fun with the fire hose from Sprowston Fire Station’s fire engine.

Joanna Thornton, estate manager at Broadland Business Park, said: “A great big thank you to all the businesses here at Broadland who have come together to give these lovely children a brilliant day out. These children live very challenging lives and Chernobyl Children's Lifeline do such an incredible job to bring great happiness to these children during their stay. It is so moving to see them enjoying themselves so much and gaining new experiences.”

Elizabeth Parker, Mid Suffolk Link chair of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, said: “The children from Chernobyl have compromised immune systems. In their month staying with our host families, they receive medical care, drink clean water and eat a balanced diet of healthy food: it takes two years before their health reverts to what it was on arrival.”

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.