December 2021-January 2022 | News

A splash of colour for a good cause

A splash of colour for a good cause

World Polio Day was celebrated in style with eye-catching publicity organised by Rotary clubs to celebrate this landmark day.

The historic battlements of the Tower of London were bathed in purple in October to mark World Polio Day.

Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ and ‘Purple4Polio’ logos were beamed onto the historic White Tower.

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This formed part of a global campaign by Rotary International with iconic buildings being lit up in the UK and across the world for World Polio Day.

Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland’s Purple4Polio Ambassador Paralympian and polio survivor Anne Wafula Strike MBE and polio survivor and Rotarian Arun Patel joined about 30 Rotarians to watch the illumination of the Tower.

Anne paid tribute to Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio. She said: “I think it is very important that Rotary continues pushing this campaign to eradicate polio because we are almost there.

“Many polio-related activities are using the colour purple, which has become symbolic in the fight against polio, inspired by the colour of the dye painted.”

“As an athlete, I have always said when I start a race, I want to get to the finish line. And we are so close to the finish line.

“Rotarians are dedicated, this journey started in 1985 and to see how far we have come with only two cases of wild polio this year, let us keep pushing.

“Let us not forget that if we do not vaccinate to the last child, then we are at risk of bringing this disease back.”

Many polio-related activities are using the colour purple, which has become symbolic in the fight against polio, inspired by the colour of the dye painted on the little finger of a child to signify they have received a potentially life-saving polio vaccine.

Other structures which were lit up included the Speirs Centre chimney which glowed purple in Scotland, thanks to Alloa Rotary.

Nuneaton and Altrincham town halls could also be seen glowing in the local communities, and parts of Chester were lit up purple thanks to the efforts of the local Rotary clubs.

Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire joined the purple wave, with the main university building shining brightly in the starry night.



Some clubs marked World Polio Day by planting crocus corms. The flowers will bloom in spring turning fields, streets and pots into a purple collage as a reminder of World Polio Day.

Burford and Kingham Rotary planted 3,500 corms in the Oxfordshire town.

However, it is not only clubs that planted the crocuses. Bilston & Wolverhampton West Rotary were joined by a local school – Bilston Church of England Primary School planting 2,000 corms.

Rotary in Tonbridge, Kent, were joined by 10 volunteers, in support of the campaign.  The team planted 4,000 corms.

A small number of clubs took their own spin on the End Polio Now campaign.



Rotarians in Carnforth, Lancashire took part in a sponsored walk to raise funds for the polio campaign. The initiative was led by District 1190 (Rotary in Cumbria and Lancashire).


Knighton & District Rotary in Wales set a stall up at a community market in the Powys town to educate people about polio and how Rotary helps.


Willaston & South Wirral Rotary in the north-west raised £135 for polio with their Purple4Polio cupcake sale. And sticking with a culinary theme, Canterbury Rotary in Kent launched their purple themed e-recipe book which can be downloaded online, free for everyone.



Rotary International made an appearance in Times Square, New York, with a purple banner appearing on a building in the Big Apple with the End Polio Now logo centre stage.


Some global food companies got involved, such as Dunkin Donuts who created a purple pinkie doughnut in celebration of the campaign.

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