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TWELVE children affected by the Chernobyl disaster were treated to a guided tour of Bolton Central Fire Station by firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. (GMFRS)

The children aged between seven and 12, visited the Moor Lane station during a two week stay in the North West of England organised by the Medicine and Chernobyl Special Aid Group charity.


Ann Richardson, a fundraiser and volunteer for the charity, said: "The children are living with the fall out of Chernobyl and where they live in the Rogachev area of Belarus everything is contaminated with radiation.

"Some of the children have limbs missing, some are deaf or partially sighted and many are orphaned or from poor families.  They come over here for a fortnight for respite really and they really benefit from the fresh air and their time here."

Green Watch gave the children a tour of the station and fire engines before showing them how to squirt water from hoses in the station yard.

Watch Manager Carl Haslam said: "It was a privilege to show the children around and they really enjoyed hearing the sirens and learning about what we do.

"But the best part was seeing the smiles on their faces, they really seemed to have a good time and we sent them away with some goodies and plastic helmets.

"They wished us good luck and left us with some Russian cakes and a Belarusian flag, which was lovely."

Olga Mazko, from the Special Aid Group charity, said: "The children really enjoyed the fire station visit, especially using the water.

"They won't have seen anything like this in Belarus and they wanted to stay inside the fire engines as long as possible, it was hard to go home afterwards."

Ann added: "The children are flying home on Sunday (April 15) and they'll be wearing their helmets on the plane I'm sure. They've been swimming in Southport, on the big wheel in Liverpool and to Preston but they've had the most fun at the fire station."

Station Manager Steve Parkinson said: "This is the third time we've had a group of children over from the Special Aid Group and it's great to show the children what goes on at GMFRS here in Bolton.

"I know the children enjoyed it, but so did Green Watch who got a lot out of it too. The visits cost thousands of pounds so we have invited the Special Aid Group to raise money at our open day in Queen's Park this summer."

Nine-year-old Lida added: "I enjoyed the fire station it was very good to squirt the water I will tell my friends in Belarus."

Last update: 13/04/2012 15:45:03
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