Spalding crocuses mark success against polio

Rotarians Peter Kite, Geof Nichols and David Walters with the purple crocuses blooming on the Spalding riverbank.
Rotarians Peter Kite, Geof Nichols and David Walters with the purple crocuses blooming on the Spalding riverbank.
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ONE thousand purple crocuses on Spalding riverbank are highlighting Rotary’s global campaign to stamp out polio.

The Rotary Club of South Holland planted the bulbs last year as a reminder to all that the disease is on the retreat thanks to its vast immunisation campaign in association with the World Health Organisation.

Rotarian Geof Nichols said: “Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985.

“Since then, polio cases have fallen from 350,000 a year to a recorded 1,600 last year.

“Thanks to Rotary’s help, two billion children have been protected from the disease, and the number of endemic countries has fallen from 125 to just four – Afghanistan, northern India, Nigeria and Pakistan.”

The purple crocus was chosen to highlight the campaign because children immunised have purple dye on their little fingers – this is known as the purple pinkie and helps medics to keep track of who has already received the medication.

Some of the South Holland club’s members have worked in the vaccination stations and further afield, sometimes in appalling conditions, when families cannot travel to be vaccinated.

Mr Nichols said: “Dirty water runs through makeshift streets in open drains where children play and people live in piles of rubbish, increasing the risk of contracting polio.”