Since Rotary was founded on this day in 1905, Rotary has been about helping others, whether it’s in our own communities or around the world.
Today we’re recognising those who have made a significant and recent contribution to Rotary’s number one humanitarian goal; eradicating polio from the world.
The following 10 individuals or groups are all winners of the inaugural People of Action Polio Award, handed out by the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland, and seeks to recognise the contribution of those who have not already won an award from Rotary International or The Rotary Foundation.
Channel Island Toys
Since 2009, Channel Island Toys has been the supplier and distribution partner of the End Polio Now Guernsey Shop, an online store selling a variety of polio-branded merchandise, with all profits going to the End Polio Now campaign.
Andrew Deane, owner of Channel Island Toys was keen to get involved after hearing the difference Rotary is making and over the last 10 years, a strong partnership has blossomed.
The team at Channel Island Toys have been incredibly committed to the cause with Andrew personally going the extra mile – literally – after he once cycled the seven miles to Guernsey’s airport to get some items on a flight to Aberdeen in time for a World Polio Day event!
Christine Atkinson, West Wickham Rotary
Christine has played a proactive role at a local and national level in Rotary’s efforts to end polio. She is the End Polio Now Coordinator for Rotary in the South East and was instrumental in gaining the support of polio survivor, TV presenter and Paralympian Ade Adepitan as a Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassador.
Christine has been heavily involved in some striking World Polio Day displays, including the purple illumination of Canterbury Cathedral in 2017 and the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar in 2018.
Doug Wills, Reading Abbey Rotary
In his role as the Managing Editor of the Evening Standard and The Independent, and Chairman of the London Press Club, Doug has used his professional skills and network to promote Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.
Doug was instrumental in having a reporter travel out to India to join Rotary volunteers from around the world in taking part in a National Immunisation Day, where millions of children around the country are given potentially life-saving polio vaccinations.
Gee Tee Bulb Company
Gee Tee Bulb Company is a family-owned and run business who have been the long-term supplier of purple crocus corms to Rotary clubs around Great Britain and Ireland.
The purple crocus has long been a symbol of the End Polio Now campaign, with the purple colour representing the dye painted on a child’s finger to show they have been vaccinated. Tens of millions of these corms have been planted nationwide in recent years, with Rotary clubs working alongside members of their local community to bring people together and raise awareness for the campaign.
None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support that Gee Tee have provided.
Ken Logan, Braids Rotary
Ken has been a member of Rotary for 10 years and has always been interested in polio eradication.
As part of the World Polio Day celebrations in 2018, Ken coordinated two achievements in the city of Edinburgh. The first was a fabric purple crocus display at the famous Scott Monument in the centre of the city. He also arranged for the purple lighting of five more of the city’s prominent buildings including Liberton Kirk and Camera Obscura.
Ken was also fortunate enough to be chosen to carry the Olympic Torch as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and has shared his experience with a host of clubs, organisations and groups, all in exchange for a donation to End Polio Now.
Mark Tredwin, Lyme Regis Rotary
Mark is Rotary’s resident petrol-head. With a passion for motorsport, Mark’s dreams came true when he took part in the Caterham Academy 2017 season.
While tearing around the track, Mark has donned Purple4Polio branding over his car and has collected donations at race days, all while promoting Rotary’s efforts to spectators and other drivers.
His speed machine has also been a terrific attraction at Rotary’s World Polio Day event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London in 2017 and the Rotary Conference in Torquay in 2018.
Although a crash in the penultimate race of 2018 put an early end to his racing last year, Mark has his sights firmly set on hitting the track again in 2019.
Maureen Milway, Ampthill Park Flexi Rotary
Maureen has been a driving force behind her club raising thousands of pounds for End Polio Now. This included visiting India alongside other volunteers to take part in a National Immunisation Day, administering potentially life-saving vaccinations to children.
Alongside her commitment to polio, Maureen has instigated and delivered an education project in Ghana, supported by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, and has also set up successful RotaKids clubs in three local schools, who have filled hundreds of shoeboxes with toys and household items for distribution around the world.
Peter Morley, Cheam and Sutton Rotary
Peter has been a longstanding and proactive End Polio Now Coordinator for Rotary in South England who, according to his Rotary colleagues has given “exemplary effort” and “continues to do an extraordinary amount of work in supporting and encouraging Rotary clubs” to get involved with the campaign.
Peter has also contributed significantly to international advocacy efforts, to ensure that efforts to end polio continue to receive funding and support from the United Nations General Assembly and European Union. He has also actively encouraged the Nigerian community to lobby their homeland to ensure the eradication of polio in Africa.
Philip Morrison, Paul Robinson and Stuart Wright, Huntly Rotary, with James Rizza & Sons Ltd
The premier Purple4Polio Ice Cream was the brainchild of the Huntly Rotary member Paul Robinson, and then ably supported by fellow members Stuart Wright and Philip Morrison who saw it as a great way to tie in with Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland’s Purple4Polio campaign.
Philip is a Director at James Rizza’s & Sons Ltd, an ice cream manufacturer based in Scotland, which created this tasty, blueberry flavoured treat, which was launched in Northern Scotland in October 2016.
Since then, the ice cream has raised funds equivalent to over 21,000 polio immunisations (before Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2-to-1 matched funding) and gained significant coverage.
The team have been recognised at the Scottish Parliament and in Westminster, publicising End Polio Now in the political arena. They’ve also taken to the sporting arena, sharing the ice cream with fans at the Melrose Sevens rugby tournament.
Their efforts really are a fine example of how Rotary members use their skills, connections and time to develop innovative, life-changing projects.
Nigel Dyson, Kelvedon & District Rotary, with Wilkin & Sons Limited
Nigel was instrumental in approaching and working with Wilkin & Sons Limited’s Purple4Polio jam initiative, which resulted in funds in excess of £131,000 being raised for End Polio Now.
Tiptree is one of the brands of Wilkin & Sons Limited, a company based in Tiptree which was established back in 1885 and have previously supported Rotary with numerous fundraising campaigns.
Working with Nigel, Tiptree agreed to have the Purple4Polio branding incorporated into their historic label and distributed jam across the country for Rotary members to use in exchange for donations.