Another Chernobyl Lifeline

Last year you may, or may not, remember my post about our experience of hosting a child from Ukraine as part of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL).  It’s a charity that exists to help those children who are affected and still living the the contaminated area in the Ukraine & Belarus as a result of the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in 1986.  If you didn’t see the blog post you can check it out here.

Anyway, with such a humbling initial experience we decided to do it all agin this year.  Our group of 10 children arrived early August for three weeks of fun filled activities and it proved to be yet another humbling yet massively rewarding experience.  Most of the children arrive for the three weeks with only a small holdall containing minimal essential items but full of gifts & trinkets for the hosts families, much of which has been saved for over many months.  Its their way of saying thank you for taking their child for a short period of time which can result in giving them an increased life expectancy of up to two and a half years, all simply by taking them away from the contaminated area and giving their immune system a much needed boost.

My blog post last year gives a little more detail about the Chernobyl Disaster and how it affects these children and their families so i’ll not repeat myself again.  I’d just like to post a few images from all the activities we have been up to over the last three weeks.  A massive thank you must go to the committee of our Local CCLL link – Mansfield & Ashfield, who’s hard work in organising the activities makes their visit such a success.  It also has to be noted that these visits are only possible due to the funds generated through the two area charity shops in Clowne & Sutton and other charitable donations without which non of this would even happen.

So, here is a little pictorial rundown of what we got up to over the three weeks.  Being able to record their visit is a massive privilege and i hope that in many ways it brings them much happiness and enjoyment as they look over what they did and achieved on their visit to the UK.

Finally, if you would like to know more about the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, please do check out their website, they are always on the lookout for host families that are willing to give a little of their time to make a massive difference to the children that visit.

Our young visitors arrived, a little shy and a little tired from their long journey.  For many it is their first overseas trip.

Our young visitors arrived, a little shy and a little tired from their long journey. For many it is their first overseas trip.

Breaking the language barrier through play (Loombands) and family fun.

Breaking the language barrier through play (Loombands) and family fun.

The local fire station always is a big hit with the kids.

The local fire station always is a big hit with the kids.

A day on the water with the Notts County Sailing Club

A day on the water with the Notts County Sailing Club

We all pretended we were Robin Hood with a little Archery at Welbeck.

We all pretended we were Robin Hood with a little Archery at Welbeck.

Our day in York started with a look around the Rail museum.

Our day in York started with a look around the Rail Museum.

You couldn't visit York without a look at the Minster - it's Mahoosive.

You couldn’t visit York without a look at the Minster – it’s Mahoosive.

Going Underground at Speedwell Cavern.

Going underground at Speedwell Cavern.

The play park & Farm Yard at Chatsworth was fun afternoon, a little tiring for us "big" kids who joined in too though.

The play park & Farm Yard at Chatsworth was fun afternoon, a little tiring for us “big” kids who joined in too though.

Capturing all the sights in London.

Capturing all the sights in London.

Seeing Victor, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's newest resident was bit hit for the kids.

Seeing Victor, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s newest resident was bit hit for the kids.

And it all ended with fantastic farewell party.  Full of emotion both happy & sad but we always knew that our little visitors would have to go home, it just passed so quick. :-(

And it all ended with fantastic farewell party. Full of emotion both happy & sad but we always knew that our little visitors would have to go home, it just passed so quick. 😦

JDRF Charity Photoshoot 2014

Back in 2012 i dreamed up an idea to raise awareness of a charity called JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  It was a charity I was not familiar with until my son was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic at the age of just 3.  The charity exists to help improve the care of those affected by Type 1 Diabetes and find a much needed cure.

I wanted an event that would increase awareness of the Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes and also of this charity, all while raising much needed charitable funds.  The government give approximately £52 million to Diabetes research and all of this goes to Type 2 Diabetes, type 1 Diabetes gets zero direct government funding.  It was also my desire to create an event that gave something back to those who donate.  That is where and why my JDRF charity photoshoots started.

So, with the first one under my belt, and a whopping £1200 raised, i had to somehow push the boundaries and i have to say that organising this one proved to be a harder task than the first.  I’m not going into the why & what for’s but after having an initial models list of 14 plus spares this dwindled down to just 6 who arrived on the day (If i didn’t show it my stress levels were off the scale on the morning of the event).

Determined not to let this damper our spirits i set to task and got the event up and running.  The venue at the last event proved to be such a success so i figured why change it, so, back we went to the wonderful and enchanting ruins of Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire.  The team there were fantastic and even facilitated the use of a HUGE marquee which allowed us to add a little extra to the day in the form of a studio setup.  With a little guidance, if needed, the photographers were free to use this area to further expand their skills and portfolios.  A big thank you to Michael of Michael Mills Photography for assisting and helping run this side of the event.

The day was attended by 27 photographers of varying levels from amateurs to seasoned professionals and judging by the conversations and comments on the day it seems that most learned a great deal from each other.  There is never one ‘right’ way to do things in photography so its always nice to see how others work.

I have seen an amazing collection of images coming through our Facebook group from the day and i’m sure there will be plenty more to come, i for one managed to capture a few more images on this shoot than i did on the first and a small selection can be seen below.

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Images aside the day was also about raising funds for JDRF and beating my target of £1200.  So, i hear you ask, did we do it????  As i write this blog the total raised is a whopping £1387.88 which i am absolutely over the moon with and all those involved should be equally proud of this figure and your efforts to make the day a huge success.

I’d like to end by saying a massive THANK YOU to all the models – Jessica, Lucie, Nicky, Ashleigh, Ed , Matt and our MUA Charlii (who worked amazingly hard on her own).  Without you this event would not have happened and your commitment and enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed.

If you would be interested in attending a future charity photoshoot please do get in touch and you can be added to our mailing list for prior notification and you can also keep up to date by visiting my website.