A wet and windy Winchester could not dampen the spirits of Winchester Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship, who gathered in the city on 26 October for the first ever Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day and the End Polio Now campaign. The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Ernie Jeffs also came along to lend his support together with his wife Barbara – and dog Charlie!
“Despite the wet weather, the people of Winchester gave us a very warm welcome and donations into the bargain,” said Ted Hill, MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “Several Polio survivors approached us to find out more, which made the event very worthwhile and we would like to thank the Mayor for his support and Winchester Rotary for helping us get our PPS message across.”
PPS is a neurological condition affecting more than 120,000 people in the UK (around the same number as Parkinson’s) and the event was a prelude to activities planned for The British Polio Fellowship’s 75th Anniversary celebrations next year. As part of Rotary International’s End Polio Now project, Winchester Rotary handed out purple crocuses, the emblem of the vaccination campaign, in exchange for donations, while members of the Rotaract club in fancy dress entertained soaked shoppers. Saturday was also Nick Bell’s birthday; so an impromptu chorus of ‘happy birthday’ followed, to the delight of people passing by on Broadway outside the Guildhall!
Nick Bell, President of Winchester Rotary said: “We would like to thank those members of the public who supported us – despite the rain! Thanks to their generosity, we collected over £420, which when Gift Aid is added will increase to over £520.”
Winchester Rotary’s President-Elect Gill Russell, herself a Polio survivor and life member of The British Polio Fellowship and who kindly invited the charity along on the day, said: “It was a pity about the rain, but the day was a great success for all of us and the presence of The British Polio Fellowship and members of the Rotaract from the University was a fantastic boost and livened everyone up. We do hope it will become a regular event in the years ahead.”
PPS Day and Winchester Rotary’s End Polio now campaigns were part of wider global efforts marking World Polio Day on 24 October. In this country, this included lighting Blackpool tower red and in the US, last week was designated Post Polio Awareness Week in New Jersey.
More information about Winchester Rotary can be found at www.winchesterrotary.ning.com or you can email the Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on The British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call
0800 043 1935.