26 July 2013, 13:12
A group of children from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster area are to spend a few weeks in Hampshire.
The youngsters from the Ukrainian city are still at a higher risk of cancer because of radiation nearly 30 years since the meltdown there. The trip, organised by the Chernobyl Children's Life Line charity, includes days out and activities, and is designed to give them a break from the tough lives they have in the still-contaminated city.
During the trip away young people try to have as much fresh air and fun as possible and the charity and their host families organise a series special events to entertain them.
Valley Leisure, the charitable trust that runs the Rapids in Romsey and Knightwood Leisure Centre, has stepped in at the last minute to help the project after one of the planned activities fell through. Along with one of their suppliers, Brakes Catering, they sponsored the children to take part in Valley Leisure's 'Explore Outdoor' children's adventure activity programme.
The 10 to 13 year olds will join other local children at Explore Outdoor and try things like canoeing, archery and shelter building.
"We can only imagine what it must be like to live near a place that's synonymous with such an enormous disaster. We can't change their whole lives, but we're very happy to do our bit to give them a day of fun in the outdoors," said Linda Arnold from Valley Leisure.
"The day will be fun and exciting. The children will learn life skills that we hope will help when they're back at home."