Little Sutton’s involvement with the Chernobyl charity excites and moves me, and shows how much can grow from seemingly chance beginnings.
In 2002, two of the members of our Friday Club, Esther and Colin, heard an appeal on Radio Merseyside asking for help with a group of children from Chernobyl who were spending one month on the Wirral. Every year, Friday Club – a mix of church members and old friends who have been meeting for fun and friendship for over 30 years – have three coffee and chat evenings and raise some money for a local charity. So that year the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline was chosen.
The following year we decided to invite the children for a lunch at our church and since then it has spiralled to involve our church, Little Sutton, other circuit churches, and family and friends near and far. The amount of money and gifts has risen steadily and over £15,000 has now been donated over the years.
Friday Club now organise a lunch, present each child with a bag of stationery, a hat, mitts and scarf knitted by our Coffee and Crafts group, and a greeting card of welcome made by our Friday Club. In addition we collect donations of seeds, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, underwear, tin openers, paracetamol and other items for the children to take home. Any money we have left over we present to the charity and it us used for the next year’s air fares.
On 26 April 2015 we held a service of remembering, as it was thirty years since the disaster in Chernobyl. The effects from this disaster still and will continue to affect the people who live in that area and in Belarus for many years to come. Bringing the children to this country for four weeks where they eat food free from contamination has been shown to drastically improve their health and well-being.
Sadly, Esther and Colin both died a few years ago but we know they would be proud of our achievements. Friday Club could not have achieved this without the help of members and friends of our church, other churches in the circuit and friends and family and we thank everyone who has been involved in this venture. – Kathy Clarke