Camden piano repair man visits Chernobyl for 30th anniversary to highlight nuclear catastrophe
- Credit: Archant
Desmond Gentle from Camden Piano Rescue repaired the last remaining piano in Chernobyl
The trip marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic nuclear meltdown of the plant.
Desmond Gentle, 67, who has repaired pianos for 50 years, mended the instrument and played a haunting melody on its keys as a symbolic gesture.
He warns nuclear power can cause incalculable damage if mistakes are made or if it falls into the hands of dangerous individuals such as terrorists.
“The people who want to build power stations in the UK should go out there now and see personally what happens when it all goes wrong,” he says.
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Unsurprisingly, Mr Gentle does not support a new UK power station at Hinkley Point.
“Building new power stations is insane - we already have to defend the ones we have now.”
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He wants to pay tribute to the frontline workers who gave their lives containing the nuclear blast on April 26 1986.
He believes millions of people would have been affected if the nuclear waste had reached the water table and further radioactivity had blown across Europe.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave people there who ran into the danger instead of running away from it,” he says.
Mr Gentle met engineers who are trying to cover the original nuclear reactor in a new shield.
He went through a travel agency which provided a Geiger counter and each time he went in and out of the contaminated site his levels of radiation were tested.
Mr Gentle says people have been avoiding him a little on his return - but his cat is loyal.
Mr Gentle travels to far-flung places for piano repairs.
He transported a piano from Camden market to a remote village in the Himalayas in 2014.
Mr Gentle plans to rebuild a piano belonging to a Camden Market friend from Kathmandu whose piano was damaged in the Nepal earthquake.
- Desmond Gentle has created a short video of his visit to Chernobyl, “The last piano in Chernoby”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N60LWQ3Gak