While Birmingham City didn’t get the right result in the match against Blackburn Rovers on Easter Monday, The British Polio Fellowship’s mission to raise awareness of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) and much needed donations for the Fellowship on the day was a great success. This was down to the support and generosity of both football teams’ supporters and not least thanks to the Sant Nirankari Mandal (SNM) Centre for Oneness in Wednesbury sending a team of 30 volunteers to help.
The SNM’s support meant the charity had a 60 strong team helping to shake buckets and hand out leaflets detailing the work of The British Polio Fellowship, the legacy of late Blues and England legend Jeff Hall and the ongoing impact of Polio in the UK, with 120,000 people living with PPS.
“We are extremely grateful to the club and the people of Birmingham for making us all so welcome and showing us such support and generosity,” said Ted Hill, MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “I would like to thank all our volunteers who did such a great job on the day and the volunteers from the SNM who doubled our numbers and offered us such sterling support.”
This month sees the 55th Anniversary of the death of Birmingham City legend Jeff Hall, whose life was cut tragically short by Polio in 1959. As special mark of respect for Jeff and others still living with Polio, Birmingham City FC invited The British Polio Fellowship to join them for the game against Blackburn Rovers on Monday 21 April. The Fellowship showed a video about Jeff prior to kick off, with an appeal for help for those living with Polio and PPS and calling for text donations.
The club had one last surprise for the charity and its army of volunteers on that day, by offering complimentary match day tickets for all the volunteers, plus nominating a complimentary box, occupied by the volunteers and the chair of The British Polio Fellowship Trustees Pam Jones.
The Fellowship and the SNM were introduced to each other by Sandwell Cllr. Steve Melia, himself a member of The British Polio Fellowship and Secretary of the charity’s Western Region, together with Reverend HS Bhatia, Executive Member of SNM UK.
“It was a pleasure to be able to meet representatives of The British Polio Fellowship and help them on the day,” said Sanjay Arora, deputy head of the SNM volunteers and the coordinator on the day. “From the sustained efforts of SNM volunteers and the weight of the buckets, I think we had a good day in terms of collecting and I hope helped raise awareness of the charity’s work along the way.”
The SNM is working to create unity in the Community and offers its support to numerous charitable causes in the health sector and beyond. The volunteers all show tremendous public spirit and always illustrate their dedication by joining such events. To find out more about the SNM, visit www.nirankari.org
The text number can still be used to donate money to the charity. By texting BCFC393 to 70070 people can still donate £3 to The British Polio Fellowship in memory of Jeff Hall and at the same time to help those still living with the disease that claimed his life. Even today, Birmingham families with links to India and Pakistan will know all too well that Polio remains a problem worldwide and the work of the Fellowship is far from finished.
“The match at Birmingham was another important opportunity to engage with people living with PPS who may yet to have sought our help and also with the Asian community to remind them we are here for them too,” added Ted. “Our help and advice is always just a call or a click away, so no one has to deal with Polio or PPS alone.”