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Escaping Chernobyl for four weeks of fun; MAGHULL Youngsters in visit to West.

A MAGHULL charity has hosted a visit to the UK by children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

Friends of Chernobyl's Children (FOCC), a charity based in Maghull and Ormskirk, welcomed back eleven children from Belarus this week.

The children, aged between seven and 12, arrived in Merseyside as part of a four-week programme to provide respite to those living in areas still affected by high radiation levels caused by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster back in 1986.

The visit will see the children undertake daily activities ranging from outdoor trips to the seaside, Martin Mere, and Farmer Teds; to sessions at Everton Football Club's training ground, Finch Farm and visits to local schools and museums. They also have a five-day activity retreat run by volunteers.

All children are given a medical check-up, along with a trip to the dentist and the optician, with any medication, dental work or glasses paid for.

A course of vitamins is prescribed to help to boost the children's immune systems, and the charity also pays for shoes, some clothing and a winter coat to take back to Belarus, where winter temperatures can reach -25degC. Julie Tromp, FOCC Group Coordinator, said: "It is estimated that the one month spent in the UK breathing clean air, and eating and drinking uncontaminated food, water and milk prolongs their life by one to two years."

Local families across the region are volunteering to look after the children, and FOCC are always trying to recruit new host families for future visits. The charity also relies heavily on donations from individuals and organisations across the North West.

Lizzie Orr, who is fostering a child this year, said: "We're going to be posting daily twitter updates so people can get an insight into the great work the charity does, and the fun experiences the children have.

"We want to get lots of people following us, and we're hoping it might persuade other local people and organisations to get involved, too."

Follow FOCC at twitter.com/FOCCMaO, and visit www.focc-mao.org.uk for more details about the charity.

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Children from Belarus visit the Build-a-Bear Workshop in Liverpool ONE
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EXUR
Date:Jun 18, 2013
Words:357
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