TEXTILE students created one-off silk scarves to be donated to Babushkas in Chernobyl for Christmas.

Twelve final year students at Cleveland College of Art and Design designed the scarves for the ladies –traditionally known as Babushkas within the community – to enjoy.

The gift is part of a hamper of traditional Christmas gifts and UK souvenirs to be donated to the Chernobyl community.

College textile lecturer Claire Baker delivered the seasonal hampers when she visited Chernobyl on December 19 for a charity tour with a team from tour operator, www.chernobylwel.com

A regular visitor to the Ukraine, Claire has already travelled to the country three times this year in her role as one of the organisers of the first Chernobyling Festival, which celebrated arts and culture in the region.

She said: “The Babushkas of Chernobyl love scarves and usually wear wool so silk will be real treat and something for ‘best’ rather than something to keep them warm for a change. The students were very excited to do this and it will mean that some of the Babushkas will have a one-off unique work of art that has been made especially for them, the loveliest thing being that they will know that there are people ‘outside’ thinking about them.”

Aimee Monkman, 20, a final year Contemporary Textile Products student from Hartlepool, created a design which featured the skyline of Hartlepool blended with a building from Scotland.

She said: “I created a colour palette using a combination of yellows, greens and blues after being inspired on a recent trip to Scotland, and merged the building and skyline together with the colours and trees surrounding them.

“I’m quite proud to know that my work will be taken over to Chernobyl, as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to hand over such a bespoke gift. I won’t get to meet the ‘Babushkas unfortunately but at least we get to send them a little bit of Hartlepool this Christmas.”

Accompanying the unique works of art will be a Christmas parcel full of festive items that are usually impossible to obtain by the self-settlers of Chernobyl who live in poverty, isolated inside mainly abandoned villages within a guarded exclusion zone.

Tania Bezpalko, a Chernobylwel.com guide and the Chernobyl.TV presenter, said: “People from the Chernobyl community will really appreciate traditional gifts associated with Christmas and the UK.”