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Eradicating Polio – Reminiscing on a Memorable Trip

We had a full house for our speaker meeting this week, with Rotarians Maggie Hardy, Sue Whitton and former Swanage (now Boscombe & Southbourne) Rotarian Ron Emmitt talking about a National Immunisation Day that they were involved with during a trip to Delhi in India in February 2010.

The talk had a serious side, of course, as the visit was part of the ongoing effort to eradicate Polio from the world. It is thought that the disease goes back hundreds of years to at least 1580AD (according to an Egyptian carving that was discovered). Many people still alive today will know people who contracted Polio in this country in the 1950s and 60s, although thankfully it is no longer something to be feared in the UK thanks to mass immunisation.

Only three areas now have the uncontrolled virus – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Hundreds of millions of children around the world have been immunised thanks to Rotary. By 2017, Polio cases had been reduced by 99.9%. But we’re not there yet. The virus is only a plane ride away and until it has been completely eradicated the effort must continue.

Maggie, Sue and Ron then spoke more about their visit to India, which was self-funded. The first impressions were what a country of contrast India is, with luxurious hotels sitting alongside very basic living accommodation.

Following that, however, they got down to business, visiting a local hospital and meeting local people involved in the immunisation programme. The operation is huge with hundreds of ‘booths’ ready to accept people coming to be vaccinated. The conditions in which some of the healthcare was being delivered was something of an eye-opener. But the children came across as so happy to have their photos taken and, in the main, extremely keen to have the vaccination administered.

Our three speakers had many wonderful stories of their experiences, good and bad, on the trip and the people that they met. And there was also time for some sightseeing and a visit to a local Rotary club who made them feel extremely welcome.

But there are dangers involved in trying to administer the vaccine. People have been killed in some of the more volatile areas such as the Pakistan / Afghanistan border, so absolutely ridding the world of the virus remains challenging for those reasons too.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian David Chalcraft thanked all three speakers for an really informative and entertaining talk.

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Diamond Geezers!

The great and the good from Swanage and Purbeck, including Club members, Business Partners, Friends of Rotary, Past members and other Rotary clubs assembled at the Knoll House Hotel on Wednesday 20th March to celebrate the Club’s 60th Charter.

Amongst those present to commemorate all those years of fun, fellowship and service to the local community were our mother club Bournemouth, our daughter club Wareham and representatives of seven other Rotary clubs. We were honoured to also welcome RIBI National President Debbie Hodge and District 1110 Governor Allan Smith to the event as well as Swanage Town Mayor Mike Bonfield.

President Elect Steve Parsons and Teresa with Roy & Jill Parkinson and Dick & Julie Mattick from Swindon Old Town (Steve’s former club)

RIBI President Debbie, proposing a toast to the club, spoke warmly about the Club’s history and achievements. In response, PDG David Pike further detailed some of the more memorable events from the club’s past. Then Club President Linda Winter, proposing a toast to the guests, explained how important the local community and visitors to our community are to the club’s ongoing success.

District Governor Allan Smith responded on behalf of the guests and highlighted the important place that Swanage & Purbeck Rotary holds in the life of District 1110.

The event was a joyous occasion and we were delighted to welcome so many people to join our celebration. More photographs are available on our Facebook page

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Planting for Polio

Rotary has been involved in attempts to eradicate the wild Polio virus for more than 30 years, and it is heartening to learn that new cases across the world have fallen from more than 1,000 a day in the 1980s to less than 50 in the world so far this year.

The ‘Purple for Polio’ campaign is the latest initiative to finally rid the world of the remaining pockets of this terrible virus and as part of this campaign, Rotary clubs around the country have been buying crocus corms (proceeds from which go directly to the End Polio campaign) to plant and show their support for this final push.

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary’s intrepid gang of planters were out last week planting approximately 5,000 corms, the benefits of which will be there for all to see next spring when the purple (of course) crocuses flower.