Crocuses planted as Rotary continues its fight against polio

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Crocuses have been blooming in Spalding and the Deepings to signify Rotary International’s involvement in the fight against polio.

Bulbs were planted at St Mary and St Nicholas churchyard in Spalding and throughout the Deepings on World Polio Day, October 24 ,2016.

Crocuses planted in the Deepings.

Crocuses planted in the Deepings.

In Spalding South Holland Rotary Club planted a ring of 5,000 purple crocuses on the grass circle outside the west door of the church.

Members of The Rotary Club of the Deepings have planted over 40,000 purple crocus bulbs throughout the area, with sponsorship and help from Market Deeping Town Council, Deeping St James Parish Council, The Deeping Bed Shop, Swines Meadow Farm Nursery of Market Deeping.

The reason purple crocuses are used is that every child has a dab of purple dye put on their little finger to show that they have been vaccinated.

Polio is a viral disease that attacks mainly children under five and leaves them paralysed and crippled for life.

Crocuses planted in the churchyard at St Mary and St Nicolas Church in Spalding.

Crocuses planted in the churchyard at St Mary and St Nicolas Church in Spalding.

In 1985 when Rotary International issued the challenge to its members worldwide to eradicate the disease it was endemic in 125 countries.

There were 350,000 registered new cases every year – that is 40 every hour. There is no cure for the disease so the task was to vaccinate every child.

In the last 30 years Rotarians have raised millions of pounds to meet the challenge. Thousands of case workers have worked tirelessly, often in dangerous and difficult conditions, to ensure that every child is vaccinated. To date more than 2.6billion children have been vaccinated and the results are fantastic.

In 2016 there were only 37 registered cases worldwide. The disease is now only endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

But the magic figure is zero and if there can be zero cases for three years then the disease will be declared gone forever, meaning it will be only the second disease after smallpox to be eradicated.