Blooming purple crocus a reminder of fight against polio

PURPLE crocus that are blooming across the island are aimed at reminding people of Rotary’s fight for a polio-free world.

Picture by Sophie Rabey.  23-02-21.  Purple blooms remind us of Rotary’s fight for a polio free world.  Crocuses at the top of Val de Terres, St Peter Port. (29270287)
Picture by Sophie Rabey. 23-02-21. Purple blooms remind us of Rotary’s fight for a polio free world. Crocuses at the top of Val de Terres, St Peter Port. (29270287)

More than half a million crocus have been planted to mark the End Polio Now campaign and to thank everyone in #GuernseyTogether for the Covid-19 response.

Appleby (Guernsey) LLP sponsored the purchase of the corms while people from Floral Guernsey, Bernie’s Gardening Services and States Works’ Parks and Gardens department did the planting.

Polio is a highly infectious disease which can cause paralysis and even death, mainly in children under the age of five.

Dave Mullins from Rotary Guernesiais said: ‘We are very grateful to everyone, including Dr Nicola Brink who braved the wet and cold weather to plant the crocuses. Their purpose was three-fold: sharing the story of Rotary’s promise to wipe out polio; brightening the Bailiwick and saying thank you to everyone across the Bailiwick and particularly at the [Covid] testing centre at the hospital.

‘Please share your photos of the crocus you see whilst out exercising so those staying at home can enjoy them too.

‘Please post them on social media with hashtag #Purple4PolioGSY.’

Dave Parish from Rotary Guernsey said: ‘We wanted to let everyone know that we decided we had to postpone our annual Purple Pinkie Day which is usually held around spring half term to coincide with the purple swathe of colour from the crocus.

‘It will now be on Friday 22 October, just two days before World Polio Day.

‘So please put 22 October in your diaries and hold a purple dress down day, bake purple cakes, dye your hair purple or just have purple fun.’

Rotary’s Purple4Polio activities, raising money for Rotary End Polio Now, are so-called because purple is the colour of the dye placed on the little finger on the left hand of a child to show that they have been immunised against polio.

Rotary has helped mobilise more than 20 million volunteers and immunised almost three billion children against polio since 1985. There are nearly 19 million people walking today who would otherwise have been paralysed and an estimated 650,000 cases are prevented every year.

Every year Rotary and partners continue to immunise over 450 million children in around 50 countries with 1.2 billion doses of vaccine given in 2019. In 2020 there were only wild polio cases in Afghanistan and Pakistan but the work and immunisation in all those countries most at risk must continue. Without vaccines, within 10 years there could be 200,000 new cases every year all over the world, including previously polio free areas such as Great Britain, Ireland and the Bailiwick.

The Bailiwick has helped raise more £140,000 in the last 11 years, which turns in to more than £420,000 with the 2:1 Gates Foundation match.

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