Spring shows work of Rotary Club of Midhurst and Petworth

Crocuses planted by school children around South Pond at Midhurst
Crocuses planted by school children around South Pond at Midhurst
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Spring weather has brought a reminder of the fundraising work being carried out by the Rotary Club of Midhurst and Petworth.

For close to North Bridge and around South Pond are clumps of purple crocuses planted last year to remind people of the need to eradicate polio from the world.

The crocuses near North Bridge were planted by college pupils and those around the pond are the green-fingered work of Midhurst Primary School children.

Rotary spokesman Helen Chapman told the Observer: “These flowers are a reminder to us all that polio has still not been eradicated from our world – during an immunisation campaign a child’s little finger is painted purple.”

She said India, once the epicentre of polio, had been polio-free for just over a year. In 1985 India had an estimated 150,000 cases and as recently as 2009 there were 741.

“The rigorous programme of immunisation has meant India has now been polio-free for a year. The world is now at a crossroads – it can build on this success by continuing immunisation.

“If it does not, the risk is the virus will re-establish itself both in India and in other countries.

“India’s last case was in January 2011 – a remarkable achievement. But it won’t be officially removed from the list of polio-endemic countries until the result of lab tests confirm it is no longer to be found in sewage.

“That confirmation is expected in the next few weeks. It will leave three endemic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria where the virus has never been under control and all saw an increase in cases last year.”

She said the Rotary club did much to help local children: “But this is just one aspect of the work we can do to help worldwide – and don’t forget polio is only a plane ride away.”