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Rotarians turn purple to stop polio

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Knaresborough Rotarians are once again planting purple crocuses to draw attention to the charity’s End Polio Campaign.

Planting has taken place at Knaresborough Railway Station where Rotarians have been working with the friends of Knaresborough station to plant a bed on the south platform.

On Wednesday, October 17, Knaresborough Rotary Club will have purple Crocus corms for sale on their annual plant and bulb stall in Knaresborough Market.

A Knaresborough Rotary club spokesman said: “Purple crocuses are a reminder of the purple dye used to mark the left little finger, the ‘purple pinkie’, of children given the Polio vaccine by immunisation teams in countries such as Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan where Polio is still endemic.

“Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 33 years ago, in 1985, the incidence of polio has plummeted worldwide by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 19 so far this year as of October 2.”

The spokesman added: “Some senior citizens will probably remember the ‘iron lungs’ used to help those suffering from Polio before 1952 when the first vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin.

“Today the End Polio campaign is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation so that every pound raised by Rotary is matched by two pounds from the Foundation and £1 donated will provide vaccines for five children.“

It is possible to donate to Knaresborough Rotary Club’s End Polio campaign by sending a cheque payable to Knaresborough Rotary Club (marked Polio on the reverse) to The Treasurer,”Wharfedale”, Arkendale Road, Staveley HG5 9JX or simply go to ‘My Donate Knaresborough Rotary Club’,

Visit endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.