Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 12:47 UK

Chernobyl victims in Cornish surf

Children surfing. Picture: Chernobyl Children Life Line
All the children managed to ride the waves during their day surfing

A group of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster made a splash in Cornwall when they tried their hand at surfing for the first time.

The six boys and six girls from Belarus caught the waves at Porthmeor Beach, near St Ives, on Saturday as part of a month-long visit to the county.

All the children, who are aged 11, managed to stand on their boards despite never having surfed before.

Organisers said the yearly visits helped increase their life expectancy.

'Ride a wave'

PCSO Ollie Shilston helped with the holiday and taught the children how to surf.

Joan Packard, south west coordinator of the Chernobyl Children Life Line charity, said the day had been "absolutely wonderful" for all who took part.

She said: "Every one of them managed to get up on their boards and ride a wave.

"It's extraordinary because they've never seen the sea before and conditions couldn't have been better."

Children being taught surfing. Picture: Chernobyl Children Life Line
About 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus

The 12 children and their carers are halfway through their trip to Cornwall, where they are staying with local host families.

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine on 26 April 1986 was the worst accident in the history of nuclear power.

About 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus. It is predicted that thousands of people will die prematurely of leukaemia and cancer caused by fallout as a result of the disaster.

The month away gives the children a chance to be away from the effects of the explosion.

Chernobyl Children Life Line said a month in the UK extended the children's lifespan by up to two years.

Belarus cursed by Chernobyl
26 Apr 05 |  Europe

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