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11th December 2010 - Chernobyl and how you can save lives in Billericay

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David Gladstone and Dan Smith joined me from the Billericay Link of Chernobyl Children Life Line, who are busy planning a holiday to Billericay next summer for a dozen children from an area in Ukraine which still suffers from the long-term effects of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. They described their trip earlier this year to neighbouring Belarus to make a documentary for Dan’s media studies course, when they witnessed levels of poverty and social depravation to an extent that David said he’d not experienced in any of his previous trips to the region. The Link are inviting people to host showings of the film for friends and family, not only to raise awareness of the ongoing situation but also as a way of raising money towards the costs of next year’s holiday, between 19th June and 17th July. David explained that they always aim to have a full programme planned for the children during their stay in Billericay, and so are keen to invite anyone who’s able to give some time helping with one or two days’ activities to get in touch – especially if anyone has a large home where they could entertain the children for a day, preferably with a swimming pool! The Link also have a fund-raising Quiz Evening and Dinner & Dance scheduled, details of which are on our Events Guide. To host a showing of Dan’s excellent film, or to talk about helping out during next year’s holiday, contact David Gladstone on 01277 653462 or at The website is, where you can download the latest newsletter.

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Jim Devlin came in to talk about his work with the Billericay First Responders, who are volunteers trained and equipped by the Ambulance Service to get to certain emergency calls where time can make the difference between life and death – usually someone suffering from chest pains, in rare cases to perform CPR before the Ambulance Paramedics arrive or even to use a defib unit to restart someone’s heart. Jim described the sorts of calls that he typically responds to – more often than not it’s a case of providing reassurance to people while they wait for the ambulance to get to them. By nature of being able to get to people quickly it’s inevitably a localised arrangement; Jim described one call he’d responded to that was particularly close to home! There are currently only five First Responders based in Billericay, and so in order to provide as full a schedule of cover as possible they need more volunteers; Jim said that levels of commitment are entirely flexible so even if someone can only offer to be on call for a few hours each week he’d be delighted to hear from them on 01277 656937. There’s also a group in Brentwood, details of which can be found by contacting the Ambulance Service on 01245 443 344 or at

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Jim Devlin also gave an update on the recently launched Billericay Community Archive, of which he's Chairman and which he’d initially talked about on the programme on 13th November ahead of its launch in Billericay Library the following week. Jim said that the library had probably never seen so many people – including the Town Crier, Jim Shrubb, not known for being quiet in the way traditionally associated with libraries! The magnificent response was far greater than the Archive had expected, with local people  bringing photos, documents and most importantly personal memories of life in and around Billericay to help build the website which will form the central focus of the official archive, which is a partnership between Essex County Council Libraries & the Essex Record Office, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Jim described one of the most exciting finds, which will be of particular personal interest to a former Billericay schoolboy who’s now a Professor at Warwick University! The Archive is an evolving project and welcomes more contributions – full details of how to take part are at

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “There are modest profits in the inventory.”*

Track listing:

Basement Jaxx - Oh my gosh
Olly Murs - Thinking About Me
Alesha Dixon - The Boy Does Nothing
Desmond Dekker And The Aces - Israelites
Blue - Curtain Falls
Alexandra Burke - The Silence
East 17 - Stay another day
Billie Ray Martin - Your Loving Arms
David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes
Pixie Lott - Can't Make This Over
Robyn - Be Mine!
T'Pau - China In Your Hand
Small Faces - Sha La La La Lee
Pendulum - The Island
Puff Daddy feat Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You

* Where am I? was Smallgains Lane in Stock

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