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THIS group of Roses and their escorts from the Tralee festival have flown to Belarus to lend a hand with a children's charity.

The 18 Roses, including the reigning Rose of Tralee, Haley O'Sullivan (25), have volunteered with Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International (CCI).

They will care for 170 children in Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum which is situated 170km from Chernobyl, the scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

They touched down yesterday and were accompanied on the journey by Adi Roche, who founded the charity.

"We will never cease to be inspired by the generosity and kindness of Rose ambassadors who reach out and touch the hearts of the forgotten children in the Chernobyl regions," Ms Roche said.

Cork Rose Edel Buckley said that she was delighted to be given the opportunity to go.

"I'm really happy that we will be helping to care for the children and hope that my experience as a home help will stand to me," she said.

Meanwhile, London Rose Grace Kenny said: "From what I have heard it's going to be one of the toughest things any of us will do."

However, she said that she can't wait to give as much love as she can to these brave children.

The Roses and their escorts will carry out day-to-day activities in the institution, including feeding and playing with the children along with bringing fun and laughter into their lives.

In almost 28 years, CCI has delivered €96.5m in medical and humanitarian aid to the Chernobyl region.