Bike challenge to raise profile and awareness of Friends of Chernobyl’s Children

Sharna and Ashley Banham are cycling from Blackburn to Diss to raise money for the Diss branch of Ch

Sharna and Ashley Banham are cycling from Blackburn to Diss to raise money for the Diss branch of Chernobyl's Children. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. It is also the day a woman from Forncett St Peter will start her 250 mile bike ride to raise money for a charity which helps those still affected by the nuclear explosion.

Sharna Banham is the coordinator of the Diss branch of the Friends of Chernobyl's Children. The charity raises funds to bring children from Belarus, the area worst affected by the disaster, to Britain for a month every year to give them respite from radiation.

Mrs Banham, 41, will be joined by her friend Ashley Banham as they cycle from Blackburn - where the charity was founded in 1994 - to Diss in four days to raise money.

The 41-year-old hairdresser said: 'The charity is desperate for funds and I thought I needed to do something. We need to raise awareness of the charity. If you speak to some people in Diss they do not know who we are.'

The pair have only started riding bikes for this ride and have yet to decide the route to take. But Mrs Banham, who works at Fresh Hair Studio in Tacolneston, said the thought of reaching their £2,000 target to help the charity will get her through.

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She said: 'We've biked 40 miles so far but on the actual ride we will be doing about 75 miles a day.

'Two years ago I went to Belarus. I was really shocked by how bad it was out there. They are extremely deprived children.

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'Having the children come over for a month really boosts their immune system. We take them out of trips. And then we send them home with toiletries and clothing.'

Mrs Banham, who has been involved with the organisation for five years, said they need more people to host children next year.

She said: 'We had eight children last year but this year we only have five. We were worried we would not have enough to host this year but we have managed it. Next year we hope to go back up to hosting eight children again.'

To find out more about the charity email

To sponsor Mrs Banham visit

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