Victor Mizzi



When writing here recently about Mohamed al-Fayed’s generosity towards the child victims of Chernobyl I omitted to mention the man who did more than anyone to help the poor kids who lost their childhoods in the worst disaster of the nuclear age. His name was Victor Mizzi and he has just died at the age of 84. 

Our first encounter was the day he rang me demanding money. Not exactly with menaces but certainly with great insistence. The Express had run several features by Kim Willsher and me on the appalling legacy of Chernobyl and that coverage attracted unsolicited and very welcome donations from readers.

Victor, who had made enough money to retire before he reached 50, was devoting his time to helping those victims. He had set up a charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, and he wanted some funds or coverage or preferably both. What Victor wanted, he usually got. And this was no exception.

In short, CCLL has brought more than 10,000 children from the contaminated areas of Belarus for two-month stays with host families in the UK, during which time they are checked over by volunteer doctors and dentists and given days out they never forget. The charity also supports an orphanage and children’s hospital in Belarus and is the largest Chernobyl-related charity in the world. 

I was a trustee for 15 years and know for sure that without the terrier-like tenacity of the Maltese-born Mizzi thousands of children would have had markedly different lives.

Hero of Chernobyl


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