Crocus highlights polio drive

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Monday 9th May 2022 10:00 am
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Pictured left to right are Peter Bethel, Mike Summers, Ann Rutherford and Totnes Sue Bethel. (. )

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A beautiful carpet of crocus has bloomed in front of Totnes Hospital this spring thanks to the Purple4Polio campaign led by local Rotarians.

The Totnes Rotary Club donated 4,000 purple crocus bulbs to the town and outlying villages in a bid to raise awareness of efforts to eradicate polio across the world.

For more than 35 years Rotary and its members have been committed to fighting to stamp out polio forever and as part of the global campaign, Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland plant millions of purple crocuses in their communities.

Sue Bethel, Totnes Rotary’s community service chairwoman organised thousands of purple crocuses to be planted in and around the town.

“We have donated 4,000 purple crocus bulbs which have been being planted for us around Totnes and area by some fantastic gardeners,” she said.

“Thanks go to Ann Rutherford, Diana Cusack, Susie and the Totnes Gardens group who planted 1,700 bulbs in front of our Totnes Hospital and around the town.

“Fellow Totnes Rotarians organised planting in Berry Pomeroy and Staverton, and the sights are marked by notice boards engraved by Mike Summers.

“A big thank you also to everyone sent donations for the Polio Plus campaign.”

Rotary chose the colour purple to highlight its campaign as when a child receives their life-saving polio drops on mass polio immunisation days, their little finger is painted with a purple dye so it is clear they have received their polio vaccine.

Rotary’s pledge for a polio free world was made in 1985 when there were 125 polio endemic countries and hundreds of new cases every single day.

Thanks to Rotary, and the support of its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there are now just two countries still classed as endemic: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A Rotary spokesman said: “To finish the job over two-billion doses of oral polio vaccine still have to be administered to more than 400 million children in over 50 countries, each and every year.

“We have to have zero cases of polio and zero positive environmental samples before the world can finally be certified polio free.”

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