Trip to provide aid to people of Chernobyl which was decimated by nuclear explosion under threat after fire

Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl affected by fire. Pauline and John Rotman. Picture: Steve Williams. Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl affected by fire. Pauline and John Rotman. Picture: Steve Williams.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
1:33 PM

A trip to Chernobyl to deliver gifts to orphans is under threat after a fire.

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Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Picture: Steve Williams.Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Picture: Steve Williams.

Councillor Paul Clapp, of Wisbech, had hoped to join his friend John Rotman, co-founder of Lifeline 4 Chernobyl, on a trip to deliver aid to Ukraine in April.

But the 3,000 mile round trip is in doubt after a fire at Mr Rotman’s house at Salters Lode, Downham Market, last Thursday destroyed the caravan him and his wife Pauline used as an office and damaged their lorry.

Seven years of paperwork and photographs went up in flames and all the equipment inside the caravan has been ruined.

The extent of the damage to the 11 tonnes of aid which was inside the lorry is unknown.

Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Picture: Steve Williams.Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Picture: Steve Williams.

The Rotmans are desperate for a caravan to use as an office and for a structural expert to inspect the lorry to make sure it in a suitable condition to make the trip to Chernobyl.

If the trailer is too damaged to take to Chernobyl, they will need to borrow a replacement one to transport the aid.

Cllr Clapp said: “We are planning to take out stuff for the orphans there. They need help but they are not getting it from their Government.

“We intend to take out blankets, clothes, shoes, bedding, towels and garden tools.

Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire.  John and Pauline Rotman. Picture: Steve williams.Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. John and Pauline Rotman. Picture: Steve williams.

“John has been out there many times. He has even brought children back here on holiday to give them some respite.

“As soon as the men go to work in Chernobyl they are contaminated. Their life expectancy is six years. They are basically committing suicide.

“Only by physically taking the stuff there can we make sure it gets to the people who need it.”

Mr Rotman and his wife Pauline founded Lifeline 4 Chernobyl in 2007.

Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Remains of the caravan office. Picture: Steve Williams.Charity sending stuff to Chernobyl but now affected by fire. Remains of the caravan office. Picture: Steve Williams.

The pair have made five trips to the impoverished area which was decimated by a explosion at a nuclear power plant on April 26 1986.

Mrs Rotman said: “We were involved in another charity and it was the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster so John decided we should send a trailer of aid out there to mark the occasion.

“John went out there on the convoy and when he came back he told me we could not stop there.

“We’ve been out there five times now. It makes a real difference because the people out there don’t have a national health service or other support.”

If you can help by providing a caravan, office equipment, a replacement trailer or in any other way, call John or Pauline on 01366 324496

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