Clitheroe Castle set to turn purple for polio

Clitheroe Castle will be lit up purple this weekend to celebrate Rotary's achievements in their mission to end polio.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 3:45 pm

Clitheroe and Ribblesdale Rotary Clubs have played their part in a significant global public health achievement, as the World Health Organization’s Africa region has officially been

certified wild polio-free.

The only two countries still with polio are parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Clitheroe Castle turns purple for polio

Clitheroe Castle is being illuminated purple over the weekend to celebrate this, following 30 years of hard work by Rotary around the world, helping with vaccinating children and by raising over US$2 billion of charity funding.

Rotary will also be holding a street collection in Clitheroe over the weekend in support of the "End Polio NOW" campaign and hope the people of Ribble Valley will give the organisation their usual support (subject to Covid-19 restrictions). For every £1 donated by the public, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation add £2, making a £1 donation into £3, which funds lots of salc vaccine.

A Clitheroe Rotary spokesman said: "Polio is a debilitating disease mainly affecting children, which can cause paralysis and even death. This incredible milestone is the result of decades of effort from Rotary clubs and volunteers around the world, who have fundraised, campaigned and worked tirelessly since Rotary pledged to rid the world of polio more than 30 years ago.

"The certification comes four years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio and now means of the WHO’s six regions, five of those

– accounting for 90% of the world’s population – are free from polio. Globally, more than 2.5 billion children have been protected against the disease, which have reduced the number of cases by 99.9% from around 1,000 cases per day in 125 countries.

"This is a terrific landmark in the world’s battle to eradicate polio. Although it has been many years since polio has been present in the UK and Ireland, we are proud to have contributed to the global efforts to eliminate the disease for good.

“We remain committed to making the final, challenging steps towards making a polio free world a reality.”

“If we don’t finish the job, it is estimated that, within 10 years, as many as 200,000 children annually all over the world could succumb to polio, including here in the UK. The virus can

literally be a plane ride away, so vaccination is so important.”

"Despite this significant milestone being reached, the job to fully rid the world of polio goes on, as the virus continues to circulate in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In order to sustain this progress, vaccination programmes must continue to protect every last child and strengthen routine immunisation to keep immunity levels high, so the virus does not return to Africa or other parts of the world, including the UK.

"Rotary has directly contributed more than US$2 billion to ending polio since 1985, including substantial amounts raised in Ribble Valley contributed by Rotary in Clitheroe and Ribblesdale. "Also, several Ribblesdale Rotarians have helped by working on the ground in countries including India during vaccination."

To get involved in Rotary and make a difference in your community and around the world, visit www.tinyurl.com/clitheroerotary or Facebook Clitheroe Rotary, or contact Bill Honeywell on

07866 413825 or [email protected]