Birmingham City FC is honouring the memory of one of their greats this Easter by inviting The British Polio Fellowship to join them for the match against Blackburn Rovers on Monday 21st April (Easter Monday) to remember the legendary Jeff Hall on the 55th anniversary of his death from Polio and raise money for the charity’s ongoing fight against Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).
55 years ago, Birmingham City legend Jeff Hall tragically succumbed to the Polio virus. Hall was a hugely popular figure at the club during the 1950s, helping the club to an FA Cup Final and winning 17 caps for England. His death from Polio in 1964 helped change the way that Polio vaccination was viewed in the UK and undoubtedly saved lives.
“Jeff Hall’s death was a tragedy,” said The British Polio Fellowship CEO Ted Hill, MBE. “Yet that event put us on the road to the entire nation being vaccinated against Polio, so Jeff did not die in vain. We should remember him for his courage, his football and the lives saved by his story.”
Ted Hill has written a tribute to Jeff’s life and legacy, which will be printed in the match day programme, while the Fellowship’s advan will be outside the ground, plus an army of Fellowship volunteers will be inside, issuing information and accepting donations. The charity is marking its 75th anniversary this year, so now is the perfect time to mark the link between Jeff and the charity’s ongoing work supporting over 120,000 people in the UK still living with PPS.
“Not everyone with Polio died,” explained Ted. “Those who survived were left with at worst total paralysis and at best wasted limbs, permanent disability and muscle fatigue. If that wasn’t enough, survivors have been having to struggle with PPS a debilitating neurological condition, that up to 80% of people who contracted Polio in earlier life can develop; bringing with it new or increasing muscle weakness and pain, swallowing and breathing problems and chronic fatigue.”
Between 1947 and 1958 Polio claimed more than 3000 lives and disabled over 30,000 people. Vaccine became available in 1962 but few people actually took it. Hall’s death changed that. If this super fit football player could be brought down by Polio, anyone could. Within days of Jeff’s death there was a clamour for the vaccine; so much so that extra vaccine had to be flown in from the USA to keep up with the demand. School children were taken out of lessons to vaccination centres, leading to the now familiar sugar cubes issued to children across the nation.
“Birmingham City is proud to be using the match against Blackburn to honour one of our own and inviting along The British Polio Fellowship, a charity dedicated to helping those who survived Polio is a fitting way to mark Jeff Hall’s death in a positive way,” said Birmingham City’s Head of Communications Andy Walker. “I’m sure Jeff’s family, friends and fans alike will approve of celebrating Jeff’s remarkable life in a way that is still helping others to go on living theirs today.”
“On behalf of the charity I would like to thank everyone connected with Birmingham City Football Club, the fans and the people of Birmingham – for helping us back in the 50s and for not forgetting us today,” added Ted. “2014 is a key year for our charity, in our efforts to see Polio eradicated worldwide and our mission to support those in the UK still living with the aftermath.”
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of Polio and PPS. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk