Dentists rally to help Chernobyl children

PUBLISHED: 12:48 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

Dr Jon Shenton checks out The Crow story with practice manager Michelle Goodall, and Laura Smith, chief dental nurse - 1896DW3

Dr Jon Shenton checks out The Crow story with practice manager Michelle Goodall, and Laura Smith, chief dental nurse - 1896DW3

A DENTIST has offered his services to a charity group – after reading an appeal in The Crow. The Cambridgeshire branch of the Friends of Chernobyl s Children (FOCC) has been appealing to dental services in the area in an attempt to secure much-needed medi

A DENTIST has offered his services to a charity group - after reading an appeal in The Crow.

The Cambridgeshire branch of the Friends of Chernobyl's Children (FOCC) has been appealing to dental services in the area in an attempt to secure much-needed medical care for the 16 disadvantaged Belarussian youngsters who will be in their care throughout September.

Branch founder Nicola Dunklin had told The Crow: "We have done so well and come so far, and all we need now is the dental help.

"This will complete the medical programme and it's vital that we find someone to help. The children desperately need this care."

And now Mrs Dunklin's plea has been answered.

Jon Shenton, who owns the JC Shenton dental surgery, in Buntingford, has volunteered his services - and dental care will be provided, too, by Joanna Man of Bottisham Dental Care.

Mr Shenton, 55, of Great Hormead, said: "I saw the article in The Crow and read that they were looking for a dentist to help with their programme.

"I feel strongly that services who are in the position to help should do so, but quite often they do not. I wanted to do this because we can help."

The children will be given an initial dental examination, with follow up treatment if needed.

Ms Man, 27, said: "I'm expecting the children's teeth to be in a poor condition, but until they visit the surgery we will not know what treatment they will require.

"We need to focus on maintaining the care when they go back to Belarus.

"They will be given a number of samples to take back, which will hopefully continue their treatment and prevent further problems.

"I am happy to be part of this programme, and I am more than happy to help the Friends of Chernobyl's Children."

During their four-week stay, the children will also receive eye examinations and medical check-ups along with vitamins and be put on a healthy eating programme.

Mrs Dunklin, who is a teacher's assistant at Melbourn Village College, said: "The programme will help repair the children's damaged immune systems, and give them a healthier, and hopefully a longer, life.

"Jon and Joanna are phenomenal people. I know how busy dentists are, and what they are doing for us shows how caring we can all be.

"It isn't always about giving money - the most valuable thing many of us can give is our time and skills, and these two dentists are providing vital and invaluable help.

"There is no option of treatment back home in Belarus, so I can't thank them enough for what they're doing for the children."

Mr Shenton, who has worked at the surgery for the past 25-years, said he hoped to continue his involvement with the group.

He said: "This will be a new experience for all of us, and I would like to be part of the project in the long term.

"Hopefully, the visit will help us assess for the future and identify what needs to be done.

"I'm looking forward to the children coming over, and it's exciting to be part of something like this. I hope we can help make a difference," he added.

The 16 children aged between seven and eight will arrive next month.

- The Cambridgeshire FOCC are still looking for a host family to house one of the children's interpreters for the duration of the stay.

If anyone would like to help the Cambridgeshire FOCC, call Nicola Dunklin on 01763 220651.

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