With the charity celebrating its 75th Anniversary, The British Polio Fellowship have been inviting schools up and down the country to plant wildflower seeds as part of its Sow the Seeds of Hope campaign throughout the month of May with the aim of raising awareness about the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in the UK. On Tuesday 27th May, it was the turn of British Polio Fellowship trustee Linda Evers and her family to sow their seeds at the holiday home in Burnham-on-Sea, operated by the charity’s Ron Scudamore holiday fund.
Readily equipped with their green fingers and gardening equipment were The British Polio Fellowship Trustee, Linda Evers and her husband Frank, who were visiting Burnham Bungalow on holiday with their three grandchildren – Nathaniel, Alexander and Amelia Hughes. Everyone gave a hand as they planted the seeds – provided by global agricultural business Syngenta (AG) and UK-based Westland Horticulture – before the predicted inclement afternoon weather found its way to the Somerset coast.
“As the charity attempts to get the PPS message out there to a wider audience, campaigns like this are great because they manage to appeal to everyone,” said The British Polio Fellowship’s Rosalind Evans, who manages the Ron Scudamore Fund for the charity.
“The flowers that grow from these seeds will be clearly visible all summer to brighten up the gardens and fields where they have been planted,” added Ted Hill, MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “The message they represent is something that carries a huge meaning for members of The British Polio Fellowship suffering from the late effects of Polio and PPS.”
PPS is a neurological condition that occurs in up to 80 per cent of those who have had Polio. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with PPS today. After an interval of several years of stability, individuals can develop increasing weakness, fatigue and pain in previously affected or unaffected muscles, a general reduction in stamina, breathing, sleeping and/or swallowing problems and cold intolerance.
The bungalow at Burnham on Sea is operated as an accessible holiday home for members of The British Polio Fellowship and their families. The bungalow has all the facilities necessary to enable those disabled by Polio to enjoy a holiday with their families. Features like hob and sink worktops that can be raised and lowered automatically plus a bedroom with hoist mean that for decades, the bungalow represented the only opportunity some members had to take a holiday and as such the holiday home has a unique place in the hearts of members.
The sowing the seeds of hope campaign was the perfect opportunity to add some flower beds to the bungalow and give it a bright and welcome floral makeover for those members and their families who have come to depend on it.
This year the charity’s 75th anniversary is being marked with a ‘Sowing the seeds of hope’ campaign involving the planting of wildflowers by members and others. There have been events at schools and elsewhere nationwide and this event will see the seeds sown in the flower beds of the bungalow by members of The British Polio Fellowship who are there on holiday with their grandchildren.
The British Polio Fellowship is keen to make sure that the late effects of Polio and PPS do not become forgotten conditions, it is hoped that by working with younger generations in schools during the campaign the charity can ensure that as time goes on people suffering from the effects of Polio will always have the help they need. As well as the schools, 10,000 complimentary packets of seeds provided by Syngenta and Westland Horticulture have been distributed to members of The British Polio Fellowship via the charity’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Bulletin.
“The Sowing the Seeds of Hope campaign has become a huge part of our 75th Anniversary celebrations,” added Ted. “Our hope is we’ve created a way of spreading awareness of both the charity and PPS in general, by encouraging people to do something enjoyable. The feedback received from the schools has so far been great and now with our members getting involved at our charity’s Burnham Bungalow, the campaign can only go from strength to strength.”