A group of youngsters have escaped radiation in Chernobyl thanks to host families in Gravesend.

Concern for Chernobyl Children - A north Kent charity - have been hosting groups of children for annual breaks in July and August for the past 26 years.

Concern for Chernobyl chairman, Karen Kilcullen explained that there has been an increase in childhood cancers, thyroid damage, chest infections, eye sight problems, respiratory difficulties and anemia in children living near the power plant on the Ukraine/Belarus border.

She said: "Staying with host families and receiving good food has been found to give them immunity for up to two years.

"Several of the children on the current visit had liver pain when they arrived in Gravesend but already the pain has subsided.

"The children have inherited a terrible, tragic legacy: they live, drink, eat, breathe and sleep radioactive chemicals. Without our help, these children have no hope and no future: let's show them that we care."

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During their stay, the children visit local attractions. This week they went to Diggerland and Keith Wyncoll of Jugnu Bhangra Group arranged a tour of the Gurdwara in Gravesend.

Cllr Dhesi said, "Unfortunately, a shortage of host families has meant that less children could be invited this year. I will play my part in encouraging local people to help this wonderful initiative.

"Residents from Gravesham and surrounding areas never cease to amaze me with their generosity and caring spirit."

If you, your school, workplace or organisation would like to donate to Concern for Chernobyl Children or if you are interested to be a host family for next summer - please contact Karen Kilcullen 01474 748543, mobile: 07821 479181.

Visit: concernforchernobylchildren.co.uk for more info.