Meet the Peterborough couple who have dedicated their lives to helping the families of Chernobyl

All smiles after a concert
All smiles after a concert
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A Peterborough couple who have spent years helping families hit by the worst nuclear disaster in history have made their 45th visit across Europe.

John and Rosie Sandall have made dozens of visits to Ukraine, where they met children and teenagers who are still feeling the affects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

On their summer trip, John and Rosie, from Longthorpe, Peterborough, visited all the families they support at a sanatorium, a centre for disabled young adults and a small Age UK group.

The sanatorium sees more than 1,000 people visit for treatment and care every year.

John and Rosie first went to Ukraine in 1997, and have been made freemen of Peterborough for their work helping the families.

They visit Ukraine twice a year, and raise money to help through regular sales held in Peterborough.

Rosie said it was heartbreaking to see the pain still suffered by families more than 30 years after the disaster.

She said: “Most disasters in the world are on the news for a few days and then they are forgotten. Sadly, although the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened in 1986, people are still suffering the after effects today and they will never forget.

“Many people are severely disabled as a result of radiation and many others have thyroid cancer too.

“There is no social security system as we know it and disabled people are often treated as outcasts.”

The Chernobyl disaster occurred at a nuclear plant, when explosions happened in the nuclear core at the plant, sending radiation into the atmosphere.

Rosie added: “We support many individual families who struggle with poor health and very little money.

“People have to pay for all the drugs they need and many can’t afford them.

“ We’ve made many friends in the city of Chernigov and many people rely on us for help.

“We would like to thank the many Peterborough Telegraph readers who continue to support us.”