Thousands of purple crocus corms have been planted across the town by the Rotary Club of Crewkerne and ladies from the Inner Wheel Club of Crewkerne, in support of Rotary International’s ongoing campaign to free the world of polio and to mark World Polio Day, which took place on October 24th. Community areas chosen for the planting of the crocuses include Barn Street recreation ground and land next to the Luccombe oak at Henhayes. Crocus corms have also been donated by the Rotary Club of Crewkerne to Ashlands School, Misterton School, St Bartholomew’s School and Wayford Cemetery for planting in their garden areas. One hundred pots have also been planted, which will be on sale in the Rotary shop, as soon as they show the first signs of growth.
Rotary International have been raising funds to supply vaccines against polio for over 30 years. They have been working in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to eradicate the disease for the past 10 years. Since Rotary’s humanitarian campaign began, the number of polio endemic countries has decreased from 125 to just three. Recent statistics show that so far during 2017, only two countries have reported wild polio cases, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The colour purple selected for the crocus corms is significant and the same colour of the official Purple4Polio logo. Every child that receives the life-saving vaccine against this devastating paralysing disease, has one of their little fingers marked with a purple dye. In excess of 2.5 billion children across the world have now received the polio vaccine.
Less than 80 years ago, polio was endemic in this country. Those who contracted the terrible debilitating disease, which struck without warning, will remember spending lengthy periods in hospital in an iron lung. And those with relatives who contracted polio, will have seen the lasting effects of severe withering of the limbs and chronic breathing problems.
The crocus corms recently planted in Crewkerne will provide a wonderful carpet of purple colour next Spring. The blooms will join in a spectacular display of around 10 million purple crocuses across Great Britain and Ireland, to spread the message of Rotary International’s unwavering commitment to rid the world of polio cases for ever.