Rotary celebrates World Polio Day : Rotarians in Carlisle and the surrounding area celebrated on 24 October
Brampton & Longtown, Carlisle Castle and Carlisle are three of hundreds of Rotary clubs and community groups across Great Britain and Ireland who are planting more purple crocus corms to highlight the work of Rotary and its partners globally to End Polio Now and forever.
Members of Brampton & Longtown Rotary along with several members of the community planted 1500 crocus corms in 40 minutes at a site on the Newfield Estate in Carlisle. The group marked out the area ready for the 9am start which included clearing the overgrown grass from the edge of the paths around the site in addition to the planting of the crocus corms.
Rotarians from Carlisle Castle Rotary worked in partnership with Friends of Hammond Pond to plant 1000 corms at the Park finishing just as the café opened. Rotary was allotted an area around the Hammonds Park entrance coming from Currock, a great location that will enable a lot of visitors to see the crocuses in bloom.
Members of Carlisle Rotary have made individual donations to the End Polio Now and Purple4Polio campaigns.
The three clubs along with other Rotary Clubs are planting corms at other sites including at Great Corby. Next spring the purple crocuses will help to highlight the Rotary End Polio Now campaign.
Tony Parrini, Polio Lead for Brampton & Longtown Rotary commented, “The eradication of Polio in the world has been a major priority for Rotary for many years and the planting of purple crocus corms is one way by which Rotary Clubs remind the community of our efforts. This year 5000 crocus corms have been planted locally and we really appreciate the help received from the local community. In previous years we have planted corms in Brampton, Longtown and Rockcliffe where the school’s Rotakids became involved. Raising the profile of the End Polio Now and Purple4Polio Campaigns is really important in helping to eradicate polio from the world.”
Phil Royle, President of Carlisle Castle commented that “The morning had been most enjoyable working alongside the Friends of Hammond Pond. Our members are grateful for the opportunity to promote the Polio Eradication Campaign at such a popular venue”. In previous years the club has planted corms at several locations in Carlisle.
Polio is a deadly disease mainly affecting children under the age of 5 and can cause paralysis and even death. As the organisation that first envisioned a polio-free world, Rotary has been at the centre of the fight to eradicate polio for more than three decades. Nearly 3 billion children have received polio vaccine. This means there are nearly 19 million people who would otherwise have been paralysed who are walking today, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died. Without full funding, political commitment and volunteer-led social action, there is a real threat that polio could return, putting children worldwide at risk.
After living through a pandemic recently, we all now understand only too well that a virus can literally be just a plane ride away. Although long thought of as a thing of the past in the UK, polio is still impacting children around the world.
As a result of Rotary’s dream of a polio free world the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988. Then there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries. Last year, 2022, the number of wild poliovirus cases had reached a low of 6 but that has now risen to 30. There are several positives though. A new vaccine is making steady inroads into the vaccinated population in affected areas. Surveillance indicates that vaccination is effective, and it is important that we have the resources to continue.
The End Polio Now programme contributes funds to purchase vaccinations, surveillance and transport of vaccines to affected areas. The programme and its partners have established infrastructure e.g. laboratory facilities that are not just for Polio but are for the eradication of other potent diseases including Covid.
Every £1 we raise is matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so becomes £3.