Staff at Specsavers in Wolverhampton have welcomed a group of children from Belarus who have been affected by the legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

During their visit to Specsavers, which was organised by Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, the 10 youngsters aged between 8 and 12 were given free eye examinations and provided with glasses if required. 

‘This was the first time we’ve had a visit from children via the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity, and we really enjoyed having them in the store,’ said Andrew Stubbs, store director. ‘Our team carried out eye examinations, and if the children needed glasses we supplied them for free. It is the least we can do to help the children, as in Belarus, eyecare is out of reach for most families.

‘Having corrective glasses can make an enormous difference to a child’s quality of life and helps improve their education chances - simply because they can read and see everything around them,’ Andrew continued.

Ann Becke, a founding member of the Wolverhampton and Kinver Link of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline charity, said: ‘Many of the children will not be able to access eyecare back home, so we’re very grateful to Specsavers for offering free eyecare for them.’

‘So often their sight can be affected by the radiation that is passed on in their genes or which is ingested in food that is contaminated by Caesium 137. The radioactive isotope is found in the soil and affects the calcium in the bones of children living within proximity of the Chernobyl disaster.  An average 13-year old living in Belarus is said to have the stomach of a 70-year old.’

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline was formed in 1991 and aims to improve the lives of the children affected by the legacy of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster by providing four-week respites to children. Thousands of the children born each year in Belarus – where the charity’s work is focussed – now develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia as a result.

Ann added: ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer the children a range of fun activities and new experiences thanks to the generosity of people in the West Midlands.’ 

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