Maidenhead Rotarians have planted more than 7,000 crocus bulbs across the town to mark World Polio Day, on Saturday, October 24, and highlight the organisation’s ongoing battle to eradicate the disease.
At the weekend about 30 volunteers from the town’s three Rotary Clubs – Maidenhead, Maidenhead Thames and Maidenhead Bridge – planted bulbs in parks and along roadside verges as part of the Purple4Polio campaign. In the spring these areas will be carpeted with purple flowers to represent the purple ink used to mark the fingers of children vaccinated in Rotary’s 30-year global campaign to end polio, which has seen the number of cases fall by 99.9 per cent.
Once a worldwide scourge with 1,000 cases per day in 125 countries, more than 2.5billion children have been protected against the disease which is now endemic in just Afghanistan and Pakistan. This year saw a significant milestone in the battle when Africa was certified polio-free.
The crocuses were planted outside Maidenhead Library, at the Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden in Oaken Grove Park, at Bridge Gardens by the River Thames, and alongside the A308 in Furze Platt and the A4 near Maidenhead Thicket.
Project coordinators Nisha Chettri and Harrie Hayward said: “Rotary in Maidenhead’s polio crocus planting saw more than 30 volunteers from the three Rotary clubs working together to plant thousands of bulbs to celebrate World Polio Day and highlight the important work we’re doing to eradicate this disease from the planet. We can’t wait to see the purple flowers bloom in the spring, sharing an important message with residents and bringing a splash of colour too.”
Working with the World Health Organisation, Rotary has directly contributed more than $2billion to ending polio since 1985, including thousands of pounds raised by Maidenhead Rotarians.