A CHARITY dedicated to providing an annual four-week respite holiday for children severely affected by a nuclear disaster is appealing for help to support the visits.

The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children said an open evening at Northallerton Town Hall, had been successful in attracting new families to host about 12 children and two interpreters from Belarus next summer, but it would need more support for its fundraising activities.

The Northallerton branch of the charity, which was established in the 1990s, organises a range of activities for the vulnerable youngsters from Mogilev, the area most severely affected by the 1987 disaster.

Mogilev will continue to be blighted by unsafe levels of radiation for the next 24,000 years leading to increased risk of thyroid cancer and other diseases.

Linda Spence, the charity’s co-ordinator, said a number of local businesses and organisations, including Bettys, had pledged to continue supporting the charity.

Its chairman, Suzanne Firth, said: “The charity has always been lucky to get such fantastic support from the Northallerton community and this is what makes the visits possible.

“But we are always on the look-out for more local people to get involved, particularly in our fundraising activities."

For details, visit facebook.com/FOCCNorthallerton or call 01609-773708.