AT a time when the world's eyes have been focussed on the worrying nuclear explosions in Japan, a Borders-based charity has unveiled plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 later this month.

Scottish Borders Link of Chernobyl Children Lifeline was set up in 2001, and in the past ten years has raised £35,000 and brought 90 children over to the Borders from Belarus for an important health break to help them cope with the contamination in their own homeland.

The link has steadily spread from the central Borders, to cover the whole region and also North Northumberland.

The charity's plans include a hand held candle lit ceremony at Galashiels fire station on Monday, April 25, at 7pm, which everyone one is welcome to attend.

This ceremony will be one of many throughout the UK and Europe to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion and symbolises the coming together of the whole continent in response to the hardship faced by the people of Belarus.

In parallel with the event at Galashiels, candles are being handed out to individuals and organisations so that a personal commemoration can also be held.

Peebles Rotary kindly hosted a talk on CCLL, and the churches of Upper Tweeddale have also embraced the event through purchasing no fewer than 30 candles themselves (£2.50 each).

In Peeblesshire alone, 50 candles will be lit on the evening of April 25, and efforts are being made to spread this interest throughout the Borders.

Borders link chairman Fraser Simm said: "Our aim is that everyone who has bought a candle or has offered to help will share a moment of remembrance at 7pm on April 25 and it is hoped to map out where people have shared this special moment whether together or in their own homes." It is hoped that the candle ceremony at Galashiels will offer the opportunity for a reunion of former host families, helpers and perhaps a welcome to any new faces.

The charity is keen to welcome anyone interested in helping in the future and those interested in joining the commemoration by purchasing a candle or coming to Galashiels should contact Mr Simm (01578-730297) or Sarah Barton (01835-840333).