NEXT month marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster – and with it comes a renewed plea to help the innocent victims.

Friends of Chernobyl's Children Northallerton has been arranging programmes of recuperative holidays for children affected by the disaster since 1998 and has brought groups of children to the UK every year to stay with host families in the area.

The children are between 7 and 12-years-old and are not ill in themselves, but many have damaged immune systems due to the exposure to radiation.

The charity brings the neediest children from the Mogilev region of Belarus where there are nearly 40,000 young people living in contaminated settlements.

Many of the houses have no running water or sanitation and money and food can be very scarce. A high percentage of food consumed is grown in contaminated soil.

In June the charity will bring a group of children across for four weeks of good food, clean air and plenty of fun.

However it costs around £10,000 a year to make such visits happen and the charity relies solely on fundraising and donations.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster on April 26 the charity hopes to raise £3,000 through small donations of £30 from individuals, schools, small businesses and groups.

To help with fundraising or learn more about hosting a child visit or contact group co-ordinator Alison Shepherd on 07795-142855.

To donate visit