Turning the town purple to beat polio

Banbury rotarian Fred Riches (centre) helps residents in plant crocus bulbs as part of the End Polio Now campaign. NNL-140812-114840001
Banbury rotarian Fred Riches (centre) helps residents in plant crocus bulbs as part of the End Polio Now campaign. NNL-140812-114840001

Green-fingered residents in Banbury have shown their support to the End Polio Now campaign by planting thousands of bulbs around the community.

The Rotary Club of Banbury has brought the community together to plant 6,500 crocus bulbs at retirement living schemes, churches and Princess Diana Park, with funding support from Sanctuary Housing.

Fred Riches, Rotarian, said: “Members of our local community, from five-year-old pupils to residents aged over 100, have come out in force to support our polio campaign and we are grateful to everyone who has come together to help us in conquering this devastating disease.

“Everyone at the Rotary Club is grateful for Sanctuary’s continued support as it enables us to bring the neighbourhood together and raise money with local residents for a campaign that is so close to our hearts.” Children from nine secondary schools have joined the initiative, and along with the planting the wider community is showing its support with polio awareness badges being displayed in shops and sported by 
taxi drivers throughout Banbury.

The string of planting events and crocus concerts has seen the Rotary Club of Banbury raise £30,000 this year to support the campaign which hopes to rid the world of polio by 2018.

Graham Nolan, Sanctuary’s head of neighbourhood partnerships, added: “The Banbury Rotary Club has carried out impressive fundraising activities year-on-year and Sanctuary is proud to support such a rewarding project – especially as it is bringing people of all ages together.”

“Well done to everyone involved and we look forward to more events next year.”

Rotary International’s crocus campaign was launched in 1979 and its aim is for all pupils who started secondary school in September 2013 to live in a polio-free world by the time they sit their GCSEs.