Rutland and Stamford churches lit up purple for World Polio Day
Towns have been turned purple in different ways to mark World Polio Day which fell yesterday (Tuesday).
Rotary clubs across the area have lit up churches purple and planted crocus bulbs as a reminder of how polio, an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, has almost been eradicated.
The Rotary Club of Rutland has illuminated Oakham Parish Church in purple light - the colour of the polio campaign - and purchased thousands of purple crocus bulbs to plant.
Rutland Rotary Club member Bruce Strickland, chairperson of international, said: “In these days when all we hear about are international hatreds it is good to be part of an international initiative that crosses all divisions to help save children from a dreadful disease.”
Normanton Church has been lit up purple this week by the Rotary Club of Uppingham and Anglian Water.
President of the Uppingham club Ron Simpson said: “Club members wanted to undertake a project that would stimulate community thought on the necessity to eradicate this awful disease.
“When the purple crocuses bloom in the spring, they will not only help beautify the town, but also act as a visual reminder of the world wide struggle against polio.”
More churches have been lit up in Stamford this year, which are St Mary’s Church, All Saints’ Church and St George’s Church, thanks to the town’s three rotary clubs.
Rotarians have also planted thousands of purple crocuses in and around Stamford, as part of the Purple for Polio campaign.
Among the locations where the crocuses will bloom in spring is the Birch Tree Cafe in Easton-the-Hill.
Young people with Down's Syndrome have helped rotarians to plant the bulbs in the shape of a birch tree leaf.
The campaign to eradicate polio was started by the Rotary in 1985 and has raised more than $2 billion dollars.
Nine cases of wild polio have been recorded this year in Afghanistan and Pakistan but rotarians say until wild polio is totally eradicated it remains just an airplane flight away.
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