Kier of Waterbeach chip in with a cash boost to help Friends of Chernobyl bring children to Cambridgeshire for a holiday

PUBLISHED: 11:28 28 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:28 28 July 2015

Artom

Artom

Archant

A group of colleagues from Kier's Waterbeach office have raised £450 for Friends of Chernobyl's Children, a charity which helps children from areas affected by the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.

FootGolf tournamentFootGolf tournament

Employees raised the money with a ‘FootGolf’ competition at the UK FootGolf course in Milton.

The event was hosted by the Helpston branch of Friends of Chernobyl’s Children, who arrange for a group of over 20 youngsters from areas that have been left devastated from the Chernobyl disaster to be flown over to the UK.

Each child stays with a participating family from the Helpston area for four weeks each summer for four years.

Kier design manager Ashley Garford is one of the charity’s volunteers and a young boy named Artom has been staying with him and his family for the past month.

He said: “Life is really hard for these children at home in Belarus as they have no choice but to breathe in toxic air and eat food grown in toxic soil. They arrive hungry and with an empty suitcase, and after an activity-packed month they return home well fed with a suitcase full of clothes to prepare them for the winter ahead.

“Coming here not only helps their health, but their confidence and self-esteem improve no end as well. It really is a fantastic charity that tugs at the heart strings and my friends and colleagues at Kier were very keen to help by taking part in the FootGolf tournament and helping us raise funds.”

The £400 donated by Kier employees will be used to help pay for the programme of activities laid on for the children while they’re in the UK, including kayaking, skiing and swimming.

Ashley’s mum Sue Garford organised the programme of activity for the children this year, and commented: “The children who join the scheme are from very deprived families who live in the so-called ‘dead zones’. No one should be staying in these areas due to the severe contamination following the Chernobyl disaster, but they have no choice.

“Seeing the progress the children make after spending four weeks in England breathing fresh air, eating good quality food and being part of a family is remarkable. None of this could be done without our wonderful volunteers or the generosity of people such as those at Kier, so we are immensely grateful. Thank you so much.”

Friends of Chernobyl’s Children and Kier would also like to thank the team at FootGolf Cambridge for hosting the event.

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