STUDENTS spent the day playing tennis and having lessons with children from Chernobyl.
Priory School, in Southsea, invited the group of 10 to 12-year-olds from Ukraine to interact with pupils as part of their four-week visit to Portsmouth.
Every year, the children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster come to the city as a respite break thanks to the Portsmouth and Hayling Island Link of charity Chernobyl Children’s Life Line.
Teachers Jo Snewin and Hesta Dalton organised the group going to Priory School, in Fawcett Road. They have been hosting the visits for the past few years.
Jo said: ‘We wanted to put on activities where the students could interact with the children from Chernobyl and get to know them.
‘They played tennis in the morning and our coach Jack set up different games. Even though there is a language barrier, they all seemed to get on and have fun.
‘Then after the tennis, they had a lesson together talking about superheroes and who their heroes are.’
Senior assistant headteacher Gary Green said it was a privilege for the school to be involved in the visit.
He added: ‘For us it is humbling to be involved and it gives the students the chance to learn about how this visit transforms the lives of the children.’
Year 8 student Laurence Trinh enjoyed meeting the Ukraine children and said it was interesting to hear their stories.
They are very kind and they understand English enough for us to learn a lot from them.Laurence Trinh
‘Over here they have the chance to grow better and play sports and do different things,’ the 13-year-old said.
‘The tennis was fun and helps develop them and build their minds.
‘They are very kind and they understand English enough for us to learn a lot from them. It has been really good meeting them.’
As well as visiting the school, they also met the firefighters at Fareham fire station, went to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Spinnaker Tower and spent a day sailing in Hayling Island.
The group in Portsmouth will spend four weeks in the area and the visit can increase their lifespan by up to four years.
Dave Moore, who has been a Children’s Life Line host for six years, said: ‘The children very quickly become a part of your family. It is very emotional to see them leave.
‘The aim of the charity is to give children too sick to travel a break and for all children to have some recuperation time.’