School choirs join the battle against polio

Sibford pupils Emily Sloan, Henry Jackson-Wells and Tom Smith.
Sibford pupils Emily Sloan, Henry Jackson-Wells and Tom Smith.

Nine secondary school choirs are to take part in a series of unique concerts at St Mary’s Church in Banbury to help raise funds to eradicate polio across the globe.

The concerts form the latest stage in the Rotary Club of Banbury’s long-running support for the End Polio Now campaign which is expected to drive the once global disease out of the remaining countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria by 2018.

The schools joined the campaign in November when they each agreed to plant 500 purple crocuses provided by Cherwell district and Banbury town councils, in their grounds, signifying the purple mark left on a child’s finger when they are immunised against the disease.

Commemorative plaques are to be installed in each school flowerbed.

Rotary member Fred Riches said the club was inspired to involve secondary schools because the disease will be wiped out by the time this year’s entrants leave school.

He said: “It’s just brilliant how all the schools have joined in and made something of it.

“It’s great to see schools and groups working together to enable each individual to feel they can contribute to a world issue.”

The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation has agreed to treble contributions to the campaign so a £5 ticket for the concerts will actually be contributing £15 .

Choirs from Sibford School, Chenderit School, Banbury Academy and The Warriner will perform on Wednesday, February 26. Blessed George Napier, North Oxfordshire Academy, Bloxham School, and Frank Wise School will perform on Thursday, March 6. The third show will be Tudor Hall school’s annual Spring Concert on Friday, March 14.

The concerts each finish with a massed choir finale of classic songs, Rhythm of Life, Can You Hear My Voice and World in Union which encapsulate the project’s vision.

Tickets priced £5 are available from participating schools and the One Man Band music store in White Lion Walk. There will be a retiring collection for the campaign.

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