If you have walked or driven past the University of Plymouth’s grass bank on North Cross Roundabout in the last week or two, you may have noticed splashes of purple among the grass. These are just some of the 20,000 crocuses that members of four Rotary clubs in Plymouth planted last autumn.
Rotarians from Plympton, Saltram, Roborough and the Plymouth Mayflower clubs took on the national initiative to help Rotary’s awareness efforts towards a Polio free world. Members of the Plymouth club also planted thousands of crocuses on the Hoe and a number of local schools – such as Eggbuckland Community College and Plymouth College Prep School – also planted large quantities of crocuses.
This national initiative has seen Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland joining forces with the Royal Horticultural Society to plant over seven million purple crocus corms across Britain and Ireland as part of their Purple4Polio campaign to raise awareness and funds for End Polio Now.
The mass planting of purple crocus corms is designed to raise awareness of the fight to eradicate polio as well as being part of the RHS “Greening Grey Britain” campaign to transform underused and undervalued grey areas of towns and cities into green havens. The purple crocus being planted symbolises the purple dye placed on the little finger on the left hand of a child to show they have been immunised against polio.
RHS Head of Community Outreach Andrea Van Sittart said: “That the RHS can help raise the profile of the work Rotary does to eliminate polio is a source of pride for the RHS community-based Bloom Groups and other floral groups who work tirelessly to improve their communities through gardening.”
President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Eve Conway said: “The world stands on the brink of a historic milestone and it is so inspiring to see so many people in so many communities getting involved in the final push to eradicate this disease to ensure a polio-free world.
“We are now so close to finishing the job with only three remaining countries where polio is still endemic, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria and incredible efforts such as this are so important to raise awareness and funds.
“It has never been so critical to complete what we started, as whilst there is a single case of polio anywhere in the world children everywhere are at risk, and finishing the job is simply our only option.”
Plympton Rotarian Darren Hands said: “In 1985, when Rotary International committed to eradicating the disease, polio paralysed more than 350,000 children every single year in 125 countries – or about 1,000 children per day. Since that time, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9%, with just 3 cases reported so far this year.”
Rotary throughout the world has directly contributed more than $1.6 billion to ending polio through its End Polio Now campaign and over $7.1 billion indirectly through its advocacy work with governments, philanthropists and other donors. At the moment all funds raised by Rotary everywhere are tripled thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation so literally every single £1 raised becomes £3. Every single £1 really counts as it effectively provides oral polio vaccine for 5 children.
For more information visit www.rotarygbi.org and see the Purple4Polio information.
(from a press release)