Chernobyl charity to commemorate 25th anniversary

At a time when the world’s eyes have been focused on the worrying nuclear explosions in Japan, a Borders-based charity has unveiled plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, writes Kenny Paterson.

Scottish Borders Link of Chernobyl Children Lifeline was set up in 2001, and in the past 10 years has raised £35,000 and brought 90 children to the Borders from Belarus for an important health break, helping them cope with the contamination in their own homeland.

The link has steadily spread throughout the central Borders, now covering the whole region as well North Northumberland.

The charity’s commemoration plans include a candle-lit ceremony at Galashiels fire station on April 25 at 7pm, which everyone one is welcome to attend. This ceremony will be one of many throughout the UK and Europe to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion and symbolises the coming together of the continent in response to the hardship faced by the people of Belarus.

In parallel with the event at Galashiels, candles are being handed out to individuals and organis-ations so that a personal commem-oration can also be held. Peebles Rotary hosted a talk on CCLL, and the churches of Upper Tweeddale have also embraced the event.

In Peeblesshire alone, 50 candles will be lit on the evening and efforts are being made to spread this interest throughout the Borders. Southern Upland Roving Archers at Westruther have agreed to mark the event in their own way, and posters and sponsor sheets are being given to the many organisations such as dentists and opticians who have helped since 2001.

Borders link chairman Fraser Simm said: “Our aim is that everyone who has bought a candle or has offered to help will share a moment of remembrance at 7pm on April 25 and it is hoped to map out where people have shared this special moment whether together or in their own homes.”

It is hoped that the candle-lit ceremony at Galashiels on April 25 will offer the opportunity for a reunion of former host families, helpers and will welcome any new faces.

The charity is keen to speak to anyone interested in helping in the future and those interested in joining the commemoration by purchasing a candle or coming to Galashiels should contact Mr Simm (01578 730297) or Sarah Barton (01835 840333).