The British Polio Fellowship hosted the first of its three 75th anniversary roadshows this week in London. Taking place on Thursday at the Heathrow Marriott Hotel, the roadshow embraced what is a milestone year for the charity, with the showpiece of the event being Team GB paralympian and charity Ambassador Anne Wafula-Strike sharing her own Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) story with members during the delivery of a workshop – all part of an exciting day.
Charity trustee Pam Jones opened the event in the morning, with the keynote speech delivered by Colchester Hospital based Neuro-rehabilitation specialist, Anne Glynn. Anne used her speech to explain the management of the late effects of Polio and PPS before giving more of her time in a brief Q and A session, inviting questions from the room. Anne even managed time to photograph a wild flower in her garden, and display it on-screen, explaining she knew of the charity’s Sowing the Seeds of Hope campaign and was happy to support it.
Anne Wafula-Strike’s workshop was called ‘How to improve your wellbeing’ which drew on her own experiences with PPS as a wheelchair user, as well as sharing advice on how others can lead a good quality of life with disability and sharing her knowledge as a top Team GB paralympian athlete.
“This is a monumental year for anyone who has suffered from Polio in UK as The British Polio Fellowship celebrates its 75th Anniversary,” said Anne Wafula-Strike. “I am extremely proud to be a recognised ambassador for the charity and it feels great to be able to talk to so many members, all of which have Polio in common and if my story resonated with even a few of these people here then the roadshow has all been worthwhile for me.”
Entertainment was brought to proceedings with an interactive graffiti wall, with member’s taking time out from the busy roadshow schedule to express their creative side by drawing and editing images using the state of the art equipment. Members were allowed to take pictures of themselves and wrote inspirational messages that mattered to them, to be captured for the ‘Sowing the Seeds of Hope’ campaign, while those really creative individuals drew their own pictures from a blank e-canvas.
Other features of the event were the ever popular history corner, which allowed members to share stories of the charities heritage and official (and unofficial) events from the charities past 75 years, plus a stand selling merchandise and commemorative gifts marking the charity’s 75th anniversary proved as popular as the mobility stand, while an Anniversary cake was also on display, giving the occasion a real celebratory feel. Those in attendance also had the chance to see The British Polio Fellowship’s documentary film ‘The Journey – Living with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome.’ With production of the DVD now kindly being sponsored by Mundy Cruising.
“The London event will be followed by two more roadshows; in the north west of England at Manchester Airport on 28 June, and in Wales on 20 September, and all three share the same purpose,” said The British Polio Fellowship CEO, Ted Hill, MBE. “They offer a great way for our members to get together and learn more about their health conditions and how to manage these by listening to health care professionals with an in depth professional knowledge of late effects of Polio and PPS.”
The event culminated with a competition for two to have a tour of the House of Lords and Tea on the terrace courtesy of Lord Beecham and more people getting involved in the graffiti wall. The wall was literally such a big draw that even the staff from the Marriott hotel got in on the act!
The roadshows are just the latest event in a busy year for The British Polio Fellowship. Other key dates have included a joint charity day over Easter at Birmingham City Football club to mark former England international Jeff Hall’s death from Polio. Throughout the spring members of the charity have also teamed up with agricultural firm Syngenta, Westland Horticulture and local schools and councils to plant wild flower seeds as part of their “sowing the seeds of hope” campaign.
“Celebratory events have lined up thick and fast this year, and with the first two charity roadshow’s being oversubscribed our members’ pride is clearly evident,” concluded Ted. “This has been a very important anniversary year for the charity as we look to support the 120,000 people still living with both the late effects of Polio and PPS in the UK, and spread the message. The fact this roadshow was the best attended, most successful and creative we have ever organised shows just what the 75th anniversary means to our members and just how much the charity is still needed.”
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 email@example.com or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk