April 3rd 10.30am
Truck Stop, Cheltenham Road, Nr Ashton Under Hill
Each year for the past decade and more Mike Worton MBE, has organised and taken part in a trip from Evesham to Belarus. A 3,500-mile journey , with more than 50 tons of aid.
This chap has come all the way from Glasgow to take part.
Just before the off, Mike said a few words of thanks and showed everybody his convoy braces 🙂
I said…..Good Morning everyone.
Thank you for the invitation to be here today.
It gives me great pleasure to officially wave you all off, and may I, on behalf of all the residents of WDC wish you well and hope that you have a wonderful journey.
You are of course all aware of the humanitarian need in the area you are going to and I would like to congratulate everybody involved in your achievements so far and for the amount of help you have given to many families over a number of years.
It takes special people to give all you have given and continue to give. You do it without favour, you do it because the need is there and you do it because you get pleasure out of helping others. There are of course an army of people involved in the trip, that do the back office work, and the coordinating, and they are just as important as those travelling. All have a part to play, all have put in huge efforts and without people like you the world would be a far poorer place.
Can I also say a very big well done to all those brave students and teachers from Bredon Middle School. I think you are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime. I know one pupil, who made the trip last year, described the experience as life changing.
So keep safe, keep healthy, and bon voyage.
The vicar then asked God to look after everyone in the convoy.
Drivers, start your engines!
Students and teachers said their farewells and got settled in the minibuses
and off they all went
The 30 or so people, including eight children from Bredon Hill Middle School, left in a convoy of six vehicles. The mercy mission hit problems with customs officials on the Belarus border, but two trucks heading for Uzda and Lida had reached the towns by Tuesday. The rest were expected to reach their destination in Orcha on Wednesday. Speaking from Minsk on Tuesday, about 160km, co-founder of the charity Chernobyl 2000 Mike Worton said: “We have been delayed for about 12 hours and are all really tired. We haven’t slept properly since Monday. “Every year when we get hold-ups with paper work we say ‘never again’ but then we get to our destination and see all the people who desperately need us and change our minds.”
Mr Worton, who is nearing his 70s, and his wife Mo have been making the trips for 12 years. It’s very much a family affair now, as his son has married a Belarussian. He said: “We wanted to help the people because this was an accident waiting to happen and was none of their making.”
Chernobyl 2000 is a registered charity founded by the couple from Church Lench after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The UN defined the nuclear fallout as the worst man-made disaster in the history of humanity after an explosion at a nuclear power plant sent tons of radioactive material into the air. It has been affecting the lives people in Belarus and beyond ever since. Thyroid cancer in children rose by more than 800 per cent after the disaster. There has been large increases in birth defects such as cancers, heart disease, respiratory and digestive problems and diabetes. The number of children living in orphanages has increased due to ill health and stress in the adult population.The children have very little and the hospitals lack basic medical supplies. The schools are also desperately short of equipment such as paper and pencils.
Mr Worton said all the aid collected went directly to the people who need it most. All the Vale volunteers who go on the convoy pay all their own expenses.
Evesham Journal photocall
THE LEGACY OF CHERNOBYL: BELARUS FACTFILE Only one per cent of land in Belarus is classed as uncontaminated. More than two million Belarussians, 50,000 of them children, still live in contaminated areas.
Chernobyl 2000 helps: Children in Trouble, based in Minsk; Minsk Oncology Hospital; Uzda Family Social Centre; Uzda Regional Hospital and Uzda Fire Service.
I was asked to send a friendship letter to the people of Uzda. Here is what I wrote:-
This letter, brings an expression of support and friendship for the people of Uzda from Wychavon District residents in the UK.
It is with pride that we are associated with Chernobyl 2000 and it’s volunteer staff, who do wonderful work in bringing aid, generously donated, and helping those less fortunate than themselves. We are also pleased that children and staff from one of our schools have formed a relationship with families in Dzejiski and we hope this liaison continues to produce ongoing friendship between our peoples.
With every good wish for the future.
In readiness for next year, planning is already underway and anyone who can help is urged to contact Mike or Maureen on 01386 870262 or visit their website on www.chernobyl2000ltd.co.uk.
This is a hugely worthwhile humanitarian trip and I am very pleased to be involved.