Chernobyl children's 'fantastic' day out in Blackpool



Despite being busy with preparations for this year's Rossendale Children's Day event, Lancashire-based Russian ice dance stars Alexei Kislitsyn and Natalia Pestova still found time to organise a very special day out for a group of 17 children from Mogilev in Belarus - a region badly hit by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

Natalia said they were approached by the Clitheroe-based 'Friends of Chernobyl's Children' charity after organising a similar trip for the last two years: "Obviously we were more than happy to help out again. There is no knowing what the future holds for these children: many have problems with their auto-immune systems and the incidence of children's cancers in the region is up by 800%." she explained.

  The pair approached the manager of the Pleasure Beach and Hot Ice production company Stageworks Worldwide who readily agreed to give free tickets for all the children.An interpreter who accompanied the 7-12 year olds said "The Blackpool trip is always arranged towards the end of the four weeks, because it's the highlight of the visit for them all." She added "Ten of them went on the Big One and were absolutely thrilled by it, whilst seven year-old twins Dima and Kristina on their first visit to England were wide-eyed as they watched the ice show." Nastya Ilenkova (11) who has been here five times, said "When we're in England we go to lots of different places and it's fantastic, but the Ice Show is my favourite." Alexei said that seeing the happiness on the children's faces at the end of the day was unbelievable and Natalia added "We're just glad to be able to play a small part in bringing them a little happiness."  

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