Three of our members rolled up their sleeves to help clear an overgrown plot in the Westgate Gardens, Canterbury. The plan is to have the ground ready for some purple crocus corms to highlight Rotary's End Polio Now programme in time for World Polio Day.
World Polio Day falls on the 24th October, and our members hope to continue our efforts to raise awareness and support the project by marking the day by planting some special purple crocuses.
The plot in Westgate, which runs along side the wall beside Whitehall Road, needs a good deal of volunteer effort - thanks to hard soil, weeds and overgrowth. Last week Rotarians Brian Dobinson and our President Alan Mepstead made a good start. Those efforts have been continued, despite the hot sun, by our "Three Musketeers" Rtn Bob Anderson, Past President Alastair Scott and Alan.
Each year purple crocus corms are planted across the country in order to highlight Rotary's efforts to tackle polio, a potentially devastating viral illness that can be prevented with a vaccine. This year we were delighted to learn that the WHO African region has received wild polio-free certification – a major milestone in eradicating the disease worldwide. There are just two countries in the world with wild type polio now - Pakistan and Afghanistan - so the programme is almost there on 100% eradication.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that efforts to prevent polio - and to raise funds for and increase awareness of this potentially devastating disease - have been hampered (immunisation has now resumed in Pakistan after a pause). So Rotarians across the country are making efforts to keep polio on the agenda - although this has needed more planning, effort...and social distancing.
We'll be telling you more about World Polio Day in due course.
For more information about the crocus corms and efforts across the country, click here.
Picture: Our valiant three "squeeze" into one picture while trying to maintain social distancing. Picture credit: Bob Anderson/Rotary Club of Canterbury.