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Harris Opticians provides free sight tests to children affected by the Chernobyl disaster

The month-long trip to the UK provides a boost to the children’s immune systems, as well as a visit to the dentist and opticians

The Wirral-based independent Harris Opticians has provided free sight tests, spectacles and goody bags to a group of children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

A total of seven children from Belarus have visited the practice so far, with another seven scheduled for sight tests in the next two weeks.

Practice manager Christine Gore, said: “These children do not get regular tests at home, so we were delighted to host the children in our practice. We sometimes take eye tests for granted in this country, but for them it’s so important. They were all incredibly friendly and excited to be here.”

“It’s always an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience and if we have made even a little bit of difference to their lives, it will be worth it,” she added.

Organised by the Wirral Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity, the trip provides a month-long break for the children to provide them with a boost to their immune systems.

Since the nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986, children across Eastern Europe continue to be born with or develop conditions such as thyroid cancer and leukaemia.

This is the second year that Harris Opticians has welcomed children affected by the Chernobyl disaster to its practice.

Chair of the Wirral Link of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Lynne McGonigle, said: “When the children come over, the two most crucial parts are the trips to the dentists and opticians, although they enjoy the opticians much more.”

“We find the children always need glasses when they visit the opticians. Some have been living all their lives with blurry vision, so receiving their free glasses is simply allowing them to see clearly again. At home, they sometimes never leave their village, so it’s a big adventure for them. Harris Opticians were absolutely fantastic,” she added.