Mags Whiting, who passed away peacefully last week, played a key role in Chernobyl Children’s Project for almost 30 years.
In April 1995 Mags and her husband Ken drove an ambulance out to Belarus, the country most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and they fell in love with the country and its people.
They had just retired when they joined the newly launched Chernobyl Children’s Project, but they soon became busier than ever, driving five more ambulances across Europe and organising and leading aid convoys to Belarus. The ambulances were given to hospitals in some of the most contaminated areas and lorry loads of aid provided support for orphanages, schools and family associations.
Mags and Ken took on the running of the local group of the charity, finding host families, organising activities and welcoming children into their own home too, for a recuperative holiday. In the early years the charity invited children from some of the most contaminated villages in Belarus, but later focused on children in remission from cancer. Most of those who stayed in Glossop were young children who travelled with their mums.
Mags always gave lots of love and care to the mums, as well as the children, as she realised they were in great need of a therapeutic holiday after all the stress they had been through during their child’s treatment.
Mags and Ken have been at the centre of the development of the charity since the beginning, inspiring people to start groups in other towns and supporting all our work in Belarus. No-one could have been more dedicated than Mags to supporting the children whose lives had been affected by the Chernobyl disaster.’
Mags made many visits to Belarus with CCP Executive Director Linda Walker, helping to develop the charity’s work providing hospice care for children, setting up a respite care centre and creating two family homes for children and young people with disabilities.
When Mags and Ken retired from running the group in Glossop, there was a huge party with many host families from the past coming to thank them for their 20 years of hard work, brightening the lives of Belarusian children. And when they stepped down from the Management Team the charity made them ‘Honorary Trustees’
‘There are many people in Belarus’, said Linda ‘who are deeply saddened to know that Mags is no longer with us. She will live on in the hearts of many people whose lives she touched over the years and she will continue to inspire our ongoing to work to support children and young people in Belarus’
We are asking for donations in memory of Mags for Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) because she was so dedicated to Belarusian children. If you would like to make a donation you can do so here.