Tavistock Rotary Club is planning to plant several thousand purple crocus flowers in the grounds of the town's Catholic Church on Saturday, October 28 to raise awareness of the fight against polio.

The club will also be telling people all about the issue at a special stand in the town centre's Bedford Square from 10am to 4pm on World Polio Day this Saturday, October 24. Passers-by are welcome to talk to Rotary members about the eradication of this disease.

A Rotary Club spokesman said: "We are mainly raising awareness although we will have a bucket there if anyone wants to donate towards our Polio fund. Also on the 28th October we will be planting several thousand purple crocus bulbs outside the Catholic church to also raise awareness.

"The purple crocus is a symbol of Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio, with its colour representing the dye used to mark the finger of a child who has been immunised. ''

Since 1979 Rotary clubs throughout the world have joined resources and funding to assist in the fight to eradicate Polio.

On Saturday 21st October Tavistock Rotary will have a stall in Bedford Square to raise awareness of the disease.

Polio is a paralysing and deadly disease, commonly caught by children under 5. It can attack the nervous system and once caught there is no cure.

More than 2.5 billion children have been immunised against polio in 122 countries. We have reduced polio cases by 99.9% worldwide and we won't stop until we end the disease for good.

The Director for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that in Pakistan, there have been only 4 detections of the presence of wild polio this year, the last in July.   Karachi, the biggest city in Pakistan with 20 million people, has been polio free for 3 years.   

In Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the WHO has been able to reduce the number of inaccessible children for vaccination from 3 million to 300,000.   The WHO is dealing with only 5 cases limited to one Provence in Eastern Afghanistan.   There has been no detection of the virus in this area since August.

The last major virus outbreak worldwide was in Malawi and Mozambique a year ago and this has been resolved with the commitment of local health officials.   One in every $6 spent worldwide on eradication is now reaching children in the most difficult parts of the world.   With the WHO and a host of local organisations, Rotary is committed to ensuring that no child anywhere in the world should face the risk of life long paralysis in the future.