COMMUNITIES in the south Forest and Wye Valley have added a splash of purple to their green species to raise awareness of the fight to eradicate polio across the world.

Some 4000 free crocus bulbs have been handed out to groups that manage gardens and green spaces in the Chepstow, Sedbury and Tidenham areas by Chepstow & District Rotary Club recently.

The initiative, called ‘Purple for Polio’, aims to raise awareness of Rotary’s commitment to fighting the disease worldwide, which it has worked towards for more than 35 years.

The colour purple symbolises when a child receives their life-saving polio drops on mass polio immunisation days, their little finger is painted with a purple dye so it is clear they have received their polio vaccine.

Chepstow Rotary has given crocus corms to Chepstow Library Garden, Mencap, St Marys Parish Church, St Mary’s Memorial Garden, Mathern in Bloom, The Belfry Residents Association in Sedbury, and Tidenham Memorial Hall for planting in the Tutshill Recreation Ground.

Rotarian Guy Wilson with Miss Wilmott and pupil Serafim Kulyk

A large number were given to Chepstow Brownies who left small bags of the on random people’s doorsteps as part of their “Acts of Kindness” initiative.

Sarah Gresswell, leader of the Chepstow Brownies said, “Thanks to Chepstow Rotary our girls can leave a little surprise and bring a little sunshine to people in Chepstow.”

Rotarian Guy Wilson, who organised the crocus scheme, helped plant corms at Undy Primary School with members of the school Eco Club. They planted them in a large “U”, for Undy, shape.

Their teacher, Miss Wilmott, said, “It will bring a wonderful patch of colour to the playground next spring and remind the children and parents about polio.”

Each Spring sees a purple carpet of crocus blooming in many communities across Great Britain and Ireland thanks to the initiative.

Rotary’s pledge for a polio free world was made in 1985 when there were 125 polio endemic countries and hundreds of new cases every single day.

In the past few years, only two countries have reported cases of polio.

To finish the job, over 2 billion doses of oral polio vaccine still have to be administered, to more than 400 million children in over 50 countries, each and every year.

To date, Rotary members worldwide have contributed more than £1.6 billion to the cause, along with countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries

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