The Chernobyl Challenge

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, many people are too young to remember or have forgotten about the disaster and the devastating legacy from the fallout that still remains in Belarus today. Even with the recent Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan in March 2011, the images of the Chernobyl disaster seem like a lifetime ago.

The weather conditions at the time meant that 70% of the radioactive fallout was deposited on Belarus. With its food chain still contaminated, it has resulted in a proliferation of childhood cancers and many other illnesses and deformities. Thousands of people are still suffering from this very current situation.

Lifeline 4 Chernobyl (registered charity number 1120441) was set up in 2007 by John and Paulene Rotman. The charity’s main aim is to provide relief from poverty to the children and families of Belarus, by the supply and transportation of humanitarian aid. This includes items such as walking and mobility aids, wheelchairs, bedding, clothing, toiletries and toys for the children. But the charity is in need of funds to transport this aid out to Belarus.

A group of volunteers from RAF Marham, together with members of 1249 Sqn Air Training Corps (Dereham) and 231 Sqn Air Training Corps (Norwich) took part in a sponsored static cycling event in the Castle Mall shopping centre, Norwich. The aim of the event was to raise money for the Charity Lifeline 4 Chernobyl by collectively cycling 1950 kilometres. The distance cycled was to simulate the distance from Norwich to Chernobyl.

The day went very well, largely due to the excellent support and enthusiasm of all the cadets and staff involved. Nothing more could have been asked of them and they were quite simply fantastic. Even when the challenge was completed, some cadets were determined to carry on cycling. Some had to be coaxed away from their beloved bikes that had caused their muscles to ache so much!

The total amount raised from event was £2,194. This was greatly appreciated by the charity and will go some way towards transporting a 40ft trailer to Belarus. If you would like to make a donation, text “llfc25” followed by £1, £2, £5, or £10 to 70070. For further information on the charity, please visit or visit our facebook page.

As always there is a long list of people to thank from the people who planned this event to those who gave up their weekend to cycle. In particular thanks to Senior Aircraftman Richard Williams, Senior Aircraftman Dale Symonds and Senior Aircraftman Paul Roney for organising the event. Senior Aircraftman John Masters and Sergeant Paul Stone for supporting and participating. Most importantly the Cadets and Staff of 1249 Sqn Air Training Corps (Dereham) and 231 Sqn Air Training Corps (Norwich), who were brilliant! Last but not least to the Castle Mall in Norwich for the use their facilities.

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