A Surrey school saw a seed planting with a difference this week, as star of QVC Julia Roberts joined pupils from Christchurch C of E Infant School in Virginia Water on Tuesday morning (22nd April) to plant some wild flower seeds in their own school garden – as part of a school project on growing and to help mark the 75th anniversary of national charity The British Polio Fellowship.
As an ambassador for the charity, Julia herself contracted Polio when she was just 14 months old and this event was intended to raise awareness of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) while introducing young children to the issues of disability, showing it is not just an old person’s problem.
“I would like to thank the school and the children for inviting us along today and Julia for lending her support. We are ‘sowing the seeds of hope’ to raise awareness of Polio amongst the young,” said Heike Kluever-Littlewood, British Polio Fellowship Operations Director, “People think of Polio as a 20th century problem, but its legacy continues. People in the UK still need our help right now and while continuing to support, them it’s vital to raise awareness among the next generation.”
Julia helped the children to plant specially selected wild flowers, donated by Westland Horticultural and Syngenta and stayed to chat to pupils and teachers, prior to being interviewed about the event by the BBC Sussex/Surrey. Despite the odds, Julia fought to overcome Polio and went on to have a career as a dancer and a fitness instructor before moving into the world of TV. She remains a role model for those who continue to live with Polio and PPS in the UK.
“It was a pleasure to help the children with their seed planting,” said Julia Roberts when commenting on the event. “I was young when I contracted Polio and while hopefully these children will never face this situation, it is important they know that disability can be overcome and that there is always hope. So while there was an important message, these were young children so we had some fun along the way too.”
“The children clearly enjoyed the planting and we will be looking forward to seeing how the flowers come along as part of our ongoing growth and theme and identifying wild flowers in the summer term,” said Assistant Head of Christchurch Infant School Hayley Seuke. “We really liked the idea of planting seeds that would be both an enjoyable and educational activity for the children. Whilst the children are very young, we know from experience they do remember these sorts of events when they get older, and look back on them fondly. It will help the charity The British Polio Fellowship raise awareness with parents, teachers and the local community, all of which makes it an incredibly positive activity all round.”
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 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk