A touch of Speyside Opulance aimed at helping Chernobyl Kids

Fundraising help arrives to help bring Chernobyl kids back to Moray.

THE MORAY CHARITY making plans to welcome 19 children for their third annual holiday in the region as respite from living close to the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power station is set for a major boost.

Run by local families, Friends of Chernobyl’s Children Moray (FOCC) was set up to support children affected by the Chernobyl disaster by providing a “month of love and care” in Moray Speyside region each year.

FOCC last week revealed on insideMoray that their fundraising efforts for the 2017 visit were about to begin – and called on support from the winder community. Now a group of local women have responded with an initiative led by Laura McNeil, a personal stylist from Huntly.

She is working with Clare Cotton, the Chairwoman of FOCC Moray, to set up a steering group that will launch an annual event for women, Opulence, with a dinner dance and pampering experience hosted by The Craigellachie Hotel, a luxury venue in the heart of Speyside.

The event is being held on March 18 at the hotel and includes a day of pampering with make-up artists, hair stylists, beauticians, a fashion stylist and gin tasting by Gordon Castle.

That will be followed by an evening of cocktails, five-course tasting menu, charity auction and dance. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the charity.

Laura said: “I’ve seen first-hand the good work of the charity and wanted to help create an annual event that will support the charity to run for years to come, by bringing together the women of Moray for a day and night of fun, pampering and luxury hospitality at The Craigellachie.

“It’s a great chance to spoil yourself for a really great cause. We hope woman across the area will get involved to make it a success and urge people to visit our Facebook page to learn more and book their places.”

Clare Cotton, Chairwoman of FOCC Moray, added: “Our first group consisted of 16 children from Belarus and came to Moray in September 2015 – and have returned every year since.

“These children benefit from relief from the harmful effects of the radiation absorbed through their food, drink and the air around them – all a result of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

“Before our ‘month of love and care’, our children are often shy, low in confidence, unhealthy and in need of some tender, loving care.

“Thanks to community fundraising support and events like Opulence, we are confident that children can continue to return to the same hosts for up to five years, forming bonds with their Scottish families that create memories, friendships and love that will last a lifetime.

“I am really looking forward to the event and urge women across Moray Speyside to treat themselves for a very good cause.”