Rotary Club of Plympton
Home | End Polio Now | Local Personalities throw their weight behind Rotary campaign
Local Personalities throw their weight behind Rotary campaign
How close are we to finally ending Polio? We are "This Close" to Ending Polio so say Rotarians and several local personalities.
Rotary in Britain & Ireland President Ray Burman and Rotary District 1290 Governor Maxine Stoyel were joined recently at Plymouth Albion RFC by Aysha Iqbal from the BBC and Albion's Graham Dawe and Cameron Mitchell for the official launch of a local campaign to show just close we are to eradicating Polio.
Aysha, Graham and Cameron together with celebrity chefs James Tanner and Peter Gorton, Divers Tom Daley and Tonia Couch, Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Gold medallist Natalie Melmore, Face of Plymouth winner Lawrence Barnes and BBC Radio Devons David "Fitz" FitzGerald have teamed up with local Rotarians backing this awareness campaign.
Darren Hands, a member of the Plympton Rotary Club organised this local adaption of the Rotary International campaign posters. He explained how this is an adaption of posters created by the international organisation which originally featured the likes of Bill Gates and Desmond Tutu. Darren said "When RI [Rotary International] announced they were to make the template available for adaption by clubs and districts I knew we could make a localised version with numerous people in the public eye having helped us with other ventures. I have been amazed though at how readily these guys gave up their time to pose for the campaign and also John Allen from the Herald who took all of the shots. I would like to thank them all for their support".
Through the local campaign it is also hoped that new members can be found for clubs in West Devon & Cornwall (and maybe beyond) as the posters contain details on how to join Rotary in District 1290.
Polio eradication has been Rotary's top priority since 1985. Since then, polio cases have fallen from 350,000 a year to a recorded 1,600 last year. Thanks to Rotary's help, two billion children have been protected from the disease, and the number of endemic countries has fallen from 125 to just four: Afghanistan, northern India, Nigeria and Pakistan. And the great news is, in India this calendar year there has been just 1 case reported.
The number of polio cases has plummeted to 99 percent since Rotary became involved with the eradication initiative, alongside Unicef, CDC, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and WHO.
The final one percent is the hardest to eradicate. Geographic isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict and cultural barriers are hampering the final push – but Rotarians are determined to achieve their goal of a Polio free world and with the help of this campaign, Rotarians know it will be done.
The local personalities who are backing the campaign are:
Tom Daley – One of Team GB's Olympic hopefuls for next year. Tom will need no introduction to anyone.
Tonia Couch – Like Tom, another Olympic hopeful in the diving pool
Graham Dawe – Chairman of Plymouth Albion RFC, Graham is an ex-England rugby international and is still a legend at Bath RFC.
James Tanner – Well known in Plymouth with his brother Chris running their very popular Tanners Restaurant and Barbican Kitchen, James is also known nationally appearing on many cookery shows and often appearing on morning shows such as "Lorraine".
Peter Gorton – Vice Chairman of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, Peter is well known throughout the South West and has just opened a new restaurant in Tavistock. One of Peter's greatest passions is to encourage children to cook and he has visited many local schools and colleges in the area giving demonstrations.
Natalie Melmore – At last years' Commonwealth Games, Natalie won the Lawn Bowls Gold Medal for England.
Aysha Iqbal wakes many people up in the south west presenting the morning news for the BBC. Aysha is a great supporter of Rotary activities and has helped host quiz nights and a Celebration of Youth Music and Song.
David FitzGerald – Fitz is a larger than life character known to many in the westcountry having in the past presented the regional news on ITV and partnering Gus Honeybun with the popular birthday wishes for children. After leaving ITV he worked for SKY News and now presented the Interactive Lunch programme on BBC Radio Devon.
Cameron Mitchell is a member of the Plymouth Albion rugby team who have supported Rotary over the past ten years. In the summer of 2011, Cameron gained international honours playing for England Counties.
Lawrence Barnes and Emma Fellows are the Face of Plymouth 2011 winners and are backing the campaign to show how close we are to finally eradicating polio.