Shrewsbury firefighters have been praised for their kindness in helping the “innocent child victims” of Chernobyl who visit Shropshire each year for respite.
They stepped in to pay for an extra flight ticket for Angelina, a 16-year-old girl who desperately wanted to come on the trip of a lifetime after missing out six years earlier because she had cancer.
The fire crew from Blue Watch, who went to Manchester Airport to pick up the contingent, also arranged for new clothes and suitcases when they found all eight youngsters aged from nine to 16 had arrived without luggage or spare clothes.
“Angelina is a lovely girl who was so disappointed when she couldn’t come on the trip when she was younger because she had cancer,” said firefighter Andy Davies.
“The charity didn’t have enough money for the flight so we had a raffle at the station and collected the £500 for the ticket.
“We’ve just heard that Angelina has had more tests and she is now in remission, which is wonderful news.”
The youngsters, who are from some of the poorest areas of Chernobyl, were hosted by local families during their stay organised by the Shropshire link of Chernobyl Children’s Life Line, a charity set up to help children suffering from the after effects of the disaster when a nuclear reactor exploded in April 1986.
Children like Angelina are being diagnosed with cancer more than 30 years on because their food and water is still contaminated by the nuclear fallout.
Chairperson Jane Elliott, said: “The children are now back home in Belarus and sharing all their memories of their stay in Shropshire.”
She thanked Blue Watch for their kindness in helping “the innocent victims” of Chernobyl.
Firefighters praised the Veolia recycling centre in Harlescott, Tesco Extra and Go outdoors, for answering their requests for aid and supplying the children with two suitcases each, packed with clothes and essentials.
For more information about Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline visit www.ccll.org.uk