A GROUP of children from parts of Ukraine affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power disaster have spent a once in a lifetime respite holiday in Stirling.

Eight children visited Stirling for three and a half weeks for a mixture of leisure activities and medical appointments. 

The trip was made possible due to generous host families, the Forth Valley Link of charity Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and the support of Stirling Council.

Research has shown that even a short time away from the contaminated areas, eating nourishing food, and breathing clean air significantly improves the health of the children by giving their immune systems a chance to recover.

Among the activities included were trips to the Wallace Monument, Blair Drummond Safari Park, Raploch Fire Station, the Engine Shed and a lunch with Provost Christine Simpson at Bannockburn House. 

The children also visited Bridge of Allan Library where they participated in reading and crafts – a trip which has been mentioned by previous groups as the highlight of their time in Scotland.

Stirling Council Provost Christine Simpson said: "It was lovely to welcome the boys and girls from Ukraine and be part of their trip. 

"Stirling Council is proud to support the work of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline in helping those affected by the disaster more than thirty years on. I wish the children all the best for the future and hope they enjoyed their time in Stirling."

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline Forth Valley Link chair Gail MacDonald said: "The trips that we organise for children to places like Stirling act as a real chance for health recuperation – just three and a half weeks in Scotland can help strengthen their immune systems for up to two and half years. 

"It’s only with the gracious support of our local host families who volunteer their time and homes, as well as the support of local organisations who offer entry to Stirling’s wonderful attractions that we can continue to welcome children to the city every year."