A GROUP of children suffering long-term health problems due to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have visited Bradford as part of a month long recuperative break to the UK.

The six children, who live in a rural village in Belarus, visited the city as part of a month-long stay in the UK to benefit from breathing clean air and eating healthy, non-contaminated food.

They are in the UK on the trip which has been organised by the charity Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, which since its foundation in 1992 has provided thousands of children with respite trips to the UK and provides ongoing care to the thousands of children in Belarus and the Ukraine affected by radiation from Chernobyl.

On their day trip to Bradford, the children visited the National Science and Media Museum and the School of Rock and Media, and also enjoyed lunch at Bradford College.

Craig Tupling, Bradford College’s deputy chief executive, director of finance and corporate services Chris Malish, and head of school for social care and community practice Brian Mitchell were on hand to welcome the children to the college, where they enjoyed a healthy meal.

Theresa Novotny, organiser of the trip, said: “This is the first time we have brought visiting children to Bradford but it won’t be the last.

“The city has lots to offer and we are very grateful to the museum, the college and to SORN for being so generous and making the children feel welcome.

“There are big health benefits for the children spending four weeks away from their contaminated homeland, eating healthy, clean food and breathing in the fresh air.

“While they are here we also take them shopping for school uniforms and new shoes and try to give them as many lovely experiences as possible.”

The worst nuclear disaster in history, the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 spread radiation across thousands of square miles and causing ongoing health problems for people in the affected areas.

It has recently been thrust back into the public consciousness by Sky Atlantic’s critically-acclaimed drama about the disaster.

Belarus, north-west of Ukraine, received around 70 per cent of the radioactive fallout from the explosion at the power plant, and even 33 years on the effects of the radiation are still being felt by people in Belarus and will be for generations.

Children born in the affected areas are often born with compromised immune systems, meaning they are susceptible to certain types of cancers and are also prone to suffering from flu and colds, persistent headaches, dizziness and sore throats.

Founded in 1992 by Victor Mizzi OBE, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline has since given 46,000 children respite trips to the UK, provided ongoing healthcare and treatment for children, brought chemotherapy treatment to children too sick to travel, and provided equipment to children’s homes and orphanages.

On their four week visit, the children are living with host families in and around Oldham, and other trips they will go on include a visit to North Wales, which will be the first time the children have ever been to the seaside, as they come from rural areas of the landlocked nation.