Banbury pupils plant crocus bulbs to help end Polio

Back: Sara Billins, principal of North Oxfordshire Academy, Ahmar Kamal Hussain, 12, Reece Castle, 14, and Ian Calderbank, president of Rotary Club of Banbury. Front: Crystal Hall, 11 and Mollie Tate, 12. NNL-151022-155945001
Back: Sara Billins, principal of North Oxfordshire Academy, Ahmar Kamal Hussain, 12, Reece Castle, 14, and Ian Calderbank, president of Rotary Club of Banbury. Front: Crystal Hall, 11 and Mollie Tate, 12. NNL-151022-155945001

Green fingered schoolchildren from North Oxfordshire Academy in Banbury have helped plant thousands of crocus bulbs as part of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.

World Polio Day is tomorrow (Friday) and to conincide with the date students at North Oxfordshire Academy were in St Mary’s Church on Horsefair today (Thursday) planting 6.000 bulbs.

In effort to involve and raise awareness within the community 18,700 crocus bulbs will be planted in public spaces across the town by children from every secondary school and from a further ten primary schools.

Once the crocuses bloom in March, all secondary schools will take part in celebratory concerts back at St Mary’s Church.

John Bennett, rotarian, said: “It is terrific to see the students here. The support we have got from schools in Banbury has been great. The nice thing about the concerts is that is that singing in a place like St Mary’s gives the children an experience to perform and the parents love it. It is a win-win sitation.”

Bulbs have been provided by Cherwell District Council, Banbury Town Council, Sanctuary Housing and the Rotary Club with further financial support coming from Banbury Charities.

In each of the first two years of the project sufficient funds were raised to immunise 45,000 children againste polio - the equivalent of the population of Banbury.

Sara Billins, principal of North Oxfordshire Academy, added: “This is the third year we have done this and we have also planted in People’s Park. I think it is really important to teach students things outdoors in the environment. We are educating them for their community and behind it there are two sides; one is to develop a civic responsibility and that they are contributing and realising they can impact on world issues in a small way. If they know they can do the little things it will encourage them to do more.”

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