Rotary Club to light up sky for polio campaign

The spire of St James' Church, illuminated purple in recent years.
The spire of St James' Church, illuminated purple in recent years.

Children who are vaccinated against the polio virus have their finger dipped in purple ink to show they have been treated, which is how purple became the colour of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.

Once again, the Rotary Club of Louth is painting the town purple this month to raise awareness for their campaign.

Since 1985, Rotary International has been raising funds to help eradicate polio. Three decades ago the polio virus paralysed around 1,000 children every day, and in 1988 there were 350,000 known polio cases across 125 countries.

Through determined and successful immunisation programmes using the $1.9 billion raised by Rotary clubs across the world, polio cases have now fallen by 99.9%, to only 33 cases in 2018, in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The immunisation programme has to continue in order to ensure the virus does not return,with the ultimate goal of eradicating polio completely.

For the last few years, the Rotary Club of Louth has been marking World Polio Day by planting thousands of purple crocuses around the town.

This year the team were busy planting in Spout Yard. In previous years, the grass verges near the London Road Cemetery and the approach to the Meridian Sports Centre have been planted up.

The mass of purple flowers will be seen in the spring, visible for many years to come.

In addition, the Rotary Club of Louth has once again teamed-up to share the cost of lighting the spire of St James’ Church purple to mark the polio campaign, but also to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. The spire will be colourfully lit for a few weeks as both organisations share purple as their campaign colour.

A short service and ‘switch on’ will take place at St James’ Church at 6pm on October 24.

On the same date, a Rotary bucket collection for End Polio Now will take place at the Co-op store in Northgate, between 10am and 2pm.

If you would like to find out more about the work of the Rotary Club in the Louth community, email louthrotary@gmail.com