At the end of July and the start of August, thirteen youngsters had a four week recuperative break in Devon provided by Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline Plymouth. They come from Belarus, an area still feeling the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in April 1986, from which up to 70% of the radioactive material released settled on Belarus. The land remains contaminated, and as a result, thousands are born every year who may go on to develop cancer of the thyroid, bones, or leukemia.
The Commandery of Avalon has supported the Lifeline for the past eleven years, and has now established a tradition that one of the highlights of the children’s visit is the walk on Dartmoor and a Devon cream tea at the Two Bridges Hotel, Princetown. The Commandery pays for the guide, Tony Burges, the hotel provides the tea free, and the children enjoy it greatly.
Each year there is a different group of children from all backgrounds, and it is said that four weeks in our clean air with uncontaminated food can prolong their lives by two years.
The photograph shows the children, their carers, Avalon members, and Tony Burges, the Dartmoor Guide.
Tavistock Times & Gazette, August 2014
The Commandery of Avalon has through its Avalon Charitable Trust supported ‘Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline’ for several years, and at our last meeting, Chevalier Ted Burnell suggested that we might do something practical when a group of children from Belarus came to Plymouth for what can only be described as ‘Rest and Refreshment’. These visits are an annual event, and give a different group of children each year a four week stay that enables them to see the sea, probably for the first time, Belarus being land-locked, to breathe fresh clean air, and eat uncontaminated food; their stay in this country is said to prolong their lives by two years and more!
We chose to entertain them on the 8th August at the Two Bridges Hotel at Princetown on Dartmoor, for whom nothing was too much trouble. We were blessed with good weather, and the afternoon started with a guided walk by Mr Tony Burges, a qualified guide, who, with the help of Anastasia the interpreter, told the children some of the ‘scary, and not-so-scary’ tales of the Moor.
When they returned to the hotel, they were entertained to a dairy-free tea, specially arranged by the hotel’s chef – children in Belarus have had it impressed upon them that they must not eat dairy products for fear of radioactivity, and they bring this fear with them, even though they are re-assured about our food. The afternoon ended very happily, with the children, their carers, hosts and the members of the Commandery enjoying a Devon Tea together. If you would like to know more, please visit the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline website: www.ccll.org.uk , and also the ‘Tavistock Times and Gazette’ www.tavistock-today.co.uk and go to Archives: search for ‘Belarus’ and August 2013.
The Revd Louis Baycock ECLJ, Commander
Annual investiture of the Avalon Commandery, Saturday, June 15th, at Exeter Cathedral
The Precentor of Exeter Cathedral, The Revd Canon Carl Turner (next to the Bailiff), was admitted as a Chaplain of the Order.
Commander of Avalon, Chevalier John Fewings KCLJ, at an Avalon Charity gathering on 2nd October 2009, handing over a donation for £700 from the Avalon Charitable Trust.