A FIREMAN who risked his life to tackle the Chernobyl nuclear disaster has spoken to a charity which helps children affected by the blast.

Vitali Baranovski (correct) was sent to help tackle the blaze at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in the Ukraine, which followed the blast at the site on April 26 1986.

The fire teams were not given the correct protective outfits but they spent three months working ten hour days at the nuclear reactor.

Mr Baranovski was awarded three medals for his work in 1986 but he suffers from medical problems as a result of his exposure to the radiation.

He visited St Paul’s Centre, Spennymoor, today (Tuesday, April 23) to give a speech to members of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity.

The charity brings child victims of the Chernobyl disaster to the UK for recuperative breaks. It also helps to provide medical care for the children in the UK.

Mr Baranovski, 55, said: “I’m very grateful to the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline which has given me the opportunity to share my experiences.

“At Chernobyl it was very dangerous due to the very high levels of radiation but everyone did their duty and everyone did their job.

“A lot of the firefighters who were there have since died and many of the others are disabled due to the high levels of radiation.”

Members of three churches, St Pauls, Spennymoor, St John’s, Kirk Merrington, and Whitworth Church, make up a local branch of the Chernobyl charity.

*Mr Baranovski will speak at a public meeting at St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, Stokesley Road, Marton at 7.30pm on Thursday (April 25). Entry will be free.