HEPSCOTT WI welcomed Lilian Nelson as guest speaker at its February meeting.
Lilian was recently presented with the Rotary Club’s highest award, a Paul Harris Fellowship, for her voluntary work in the community.
She is well known for work with the Red Cross, but it was her role as Chairman of the Morpeth and Wansbeck Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline that she came to talk about.
Chenobyl Children’s Lifeline was set up in 1992 to help children affected by the nuclear disaster in 1986.
Lilian went to the area to help, but the problems were too immense to deal with immediately so local people were brought to England and trained before returning to Belarus to train others.
Children continue to be badly affected by the radioactive fallout, cancers have increased and most suffer from weakened immune systems.
Each link of the charity is responsible for its own fund-raising to bring a group of 10 children to the UK each June and Lilian was enthusiastic in her gratitude to the people and businesses of our area for their generosity.
Everyone has worked together to provide healthcare and activities for the children.
She illustrated her talk with slides, beginning with scenes of devastation around the disaster site and ending with pictures of happy children on holiday.
Everyone found Lilian’s talk inspiring and moving and left us thinking about ways in which we could contribute to this year’s visit.
During coffee time, beautiful hand-decorated objects made by people from villages in Belarus were admired.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday when Doreen Wright will present The Garden’s X Factor.