Chernobyl children get free eye tests at Louth Specsavers during visit to Lincolnshire

Chernobyl childrens’ lives were enhanced by a visit to Louth,

Five children from Belarus, which remains heavily contaminated from the 1986 Chernobyl radiation disaster, were taken on a trip to the town.

During their stay, which is expected to add two years to their life expectancy, the youngsters, aged 13 and 14, visited Specsavers in Mercer Row to receive a free eye examination.

Following the examinations free glasses were provided to two of the children, as well as to the group’s interpreter, Vitaliya Efimchik.

All of the children that visited the Specsavers store received a free pair of sunglasses.

The Belarus region received 70 per cent of the radiation fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

Just two weeks in the United Kingdom can allow the deadly Caesium 137 strain of radiation to leave the body, putting two years on to life expectancy.

The respite holiday was organised by Friends of Chernobyl’s Children Group.

Andrew Downes, store director at Louth Specsavers, said: “The health of these children has been compromised by the Chernobyl disaster, which took place years before they were even born.

“It’s important to provide them with healthcare that they may not have access to in Belarus.

“More importantly, by providing an environment with improved air, water, food and healthcare we can increase their life expectancy by two years.

“We’re so pleased we can help contribute to their future wellbeing and hope they enjoyed the visit to our town.”

Jeanette Fortnum, co-ordinator of the children’s visit, said: “I would like to thank the Specsavers team for their generosity. Having access to eyecare is something that we all take for granted in this country, but for some of the children, this will be the first time they’ll have had their eyes tested, making a huge difference to their daily lives.”

As well as receiving free eye tests, the children were treated to a selection of sweet treats when they visited Nick Heywood’s Jassie’s sweet shop in Pawnshop Passage.

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.