Castle’s knight helps Chernobyl children

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Cllr Neale Murphy, Mayor of Warwick, David Brain, president, Rotary Club of Warwick, Nick Blofeld, director of Warwick Castle and visitors from Belarus, at Warwick Castle. Photo submitted.

WARWICK Castle opened its gates to children from Chernobyl, thanks to the town’s Rotary Club. Children from Belarus had a day of fun at the castle – the 12 teenagers from the Chernobyl area are all in remission from cancer.

They were welcomed by Warwick Mayor Cllr Neale Murphy; David Brain, president of the Rotary Club of Warwick, which has arranged these visits to the castle for over 15 years and castle director Nick Blofeld, who introduced them to the Red Knight on horseback before leading them into the grounds.

First the youngsters met the Bowman and were shown the skills of archery, then it was off down to the island to see the Trebuchet and learn how to be knights. After the War of the Roses show, a picnic lunch was enjoyed by the river before they watched the Falconer’s Quest with the huge birds of prey.

A Rotary spokesperson said everyone had a great time, clambering up the ramparts, as well as taking a trip into the castle dungeons and the children were amazed as they had never seen a castle of this type before.

The charity Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, Solihull branch, has brought the children from Belarus for a holiday to restore their health. 33 years after the nuclear disaster the area is still highly contaminated, affecting the air, water, and local produce.

The young people visiting this year are in remission from cancer – all have had bone marrow transplants and were accompanied by their doctor.

During a month in the UK they are taken to the seaside, into the country to eat fruit and vegetables free from contamination, allowing their immune systems to recover and prolong their lives.

Donations can be made to Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, www.chernobyl-children.org.uk, or contact kenkath.ruane@gmail.com for more information.