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Mayor of Poole meets special visitors from Belarus

The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Xena Dion, welcomed 17 young people from Belarus to a special Civic reception and regalia talk in the Council Chamber. 

The young people were visiting Poole as part of a month long trip to the UK organised annually by Wessex Chernobyl Children’s lifeline (CCLL). The visitors come from the Brest region of Belarus, an area badly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in 1986 and which still suffers from toxic pollution today. The four week respite break in the UK increases the life expectancy of these young people by up to five years. 

Over the last few years, the Borough of Poole has been keen to play its part in making this annual trip a memorable occasion. The Mayor of Poole together with Poole’s Sheriff, Cllr Lindsay Wilson, gave a presentation on Poole’s history and regalia as well as showing the young people the Mayor’s Parlour and Council Chamber. The young people were then treated to a sausage and chip lunch before each of them was presented with a goody bag containing a variety of gifts. 

Mayor of Poole, Cllr Xena Dion, said: “The Wessex Chernobyl Children’s lifeline is a charity that goes above and beyond for the children they support. I was so pleased to see how positive and happy the children were when they came to visit us at the Civic Centre, this is definitely an initiative that we want to build on year by year. 

“We made the reception as interactive as possible and they loved trying on our hats for photographs, I think the children genuinely enjoyed their visit as I was rewarded by hugs. I was glad the children enjoyed their goody bags, I hope they enjoy the rest of their stay in the UK with all the fun activities CCLL has planned for them.” 

John Martin Dale, Wessex CCLL Chair, said: “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take 17 Chernobyl children to visit the Mayor. The youngsters, aged 10 and 11, are all from Pinkovich in the Brest region of Belarus and are here for recuperative care for four weeks for which they stay with host families. 

“The office of Mayor is highly respected in their culture and they very much enjoyed the visit which included a talk about the Mayor’s role and the history of the office. The children were overjoyed when they received a bag of goodies which had been generously donated by a local Tesco.”