Provost Moonie (centre) is pictured with excited children, and interpreters from the former Soviet state of Belarus.
Fourteen young children from Belarus, aged between ten and fourteen, have been welcomed to South Ayrshire by Provost Helen Moonie.
The visit was organised by the Ayrshire Link of the Chernobyl Lifeline, formed in 1992, as a response to the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in 1986, the long-term effects of which have put millions of children at high risk of developing cancer, leukaemia or other illnesses.
While in South Ayrshire, the children receive free medical check-ups, health and dental care, while staying with host families.
Provost Moonie organised a tour of County Hall and offered the children lunch during their visit – also taking time out to entertain her enthralled young audience with the tale of Robert Louis Stevenson, who overcame ill health and poor living conditions to follow his dream of becoming a writer.
She told the youngsters: "We care deeply about the young people affected by Chernobyl and I am proud that we can do a little bit every year to help support and encourage these fantastic children.
"I am certain you will excel in the future, becoming the teachers, doctors, lawyers and maybe even the writers of tomorrow and I have no doubt Belarus will overcome the effects of Chernobyl in time."
Provost Moonie concluded: "The feedback we get from the Ayrshire Link of the Chernobyl Lifeline clearly shows the positive health effects visits here have for the children – where they can breathe fresh air, enjoy clean and healthy food and enjoy the leisure facilities we offer.
"These simple pleasures, things we take for granted on a day to day basis, make such a big difference to these young people and I will do everything I can to make sure similar future visits are a successful and beneficial for these children."
Photo caption: Swamped! Provost Moonie (centre) is pictured with excited children, and interpreters from the former Soviet state of Belarus who organised an impromptu photograph with her in County Hall. Also pictured are Michael Lafferty from the Ayrshire Link of the Chernobyl Lifeline and Councillor Rita Miller, Portolio Holder for Social Services.