Local man and Polio campaigner, Colin Powell, appeared on Radio Verulam on 26 May to lend his support to the British Polio Fellowship backed ‘Sowing the seeds of hope’ campaign. He told presenter Richard Edwards about his experiences with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), as well how you can get involved with the campaign.
The charity who recently moved its head office to Watford, is handing out packs of wildflower seeds to UK primary schools as part of the campaign taking place this summer. The seeds, provided by Swiss based agricultural firm Syngenta and its UK distributor Westland Horticulture, fit the theme of the charity’s colouring competition as children up and down the country are invited to colour in The British Polio Fellowship’s PPS Day wildflower pin badge design.
The new campaign aims to continue to raise awareness of approximately 120,000 people in the UK living with the late effects
of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition affecting roughly the same amount of people as Parkinson’s disease – but benefiting from only a fraction of the public awareness.
Colin, who was diagnosed with Polio at age six months, explains: “I am backing this campaign to help to raise awareness of a community of around 120,000 people across the UK whose voice is rarely heard. What is also so beneficial about this particular campaign is the importance it puts on educating the younger generations on the lasting presence of the disease. Polio maybe historic in terms of its impact on children today, but it still remains something that needs to be addressed and supported.”
Colin has been a member of the British Polio Fellowship for over 60 years and has become one of the charity’s most active members, despite contracting the debilitating PPS in 2010. The more recently recognised condition of PPS has had a significant impact on Colin’s respiratory system. He is now linked up to a ventilator every night in order to expel the CO2 from his lungs, which he can no longer do autonomously.
The ‘Sowing the seeds of hope’ colouring competition pack is downloadable from the charity’s website and parents, children and teachers alike are encouraged to let their schools know about the event which takes place throughout the summer with a closing date of September. The charity will then announce competition winners and display a range of the best entries in its bi-monthly magazine, the bulletin, and on its website, with prizes for the winners announced at a later date.
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. It provides information, advocacy, welfare and support to enable its members to live full independent and integrated lives and works to develop worldwide alliances with other Polio and Post Polio groups for the mutual benefit of its members.