Rotary members were flying the flag at the London New Year’s Day Parade.
Past Rotary GBI Presidents, Eve Conway and Denis Spiller, headed the Rotary contingent who paraded through the streets of the capital to promote the Purple4Polio campaign to End Polio Now and forever.
The Rotary team were joined by a vintage steam traction engine, as well as a Volkswagen Beetle – one of a number of vehicles which took part in the Rotary Purple4Polio Grand Tour last year raising an estimated £50,000 for the polio initiative.
Rotaractors and Rotary Global Scholars also joined to promote Rotary’s campaign in front of a crowd of 650,000 and a worldwide TV audience of 600 million viewers.
They were among 8,000 performers from 26 nations across the world and 15 London boroughs who took part in the 33rd London New Year’s Parade.
The parade set out from Piccadilly near Green Park Station, before heading past several of the capital’s landmarks including Regent Street, St. James’s, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, before finishing at Parliament Square.
Among those also taking part were the City of London Brass Brand, All the Queen’s Horses, the London boroughs, plus a selection of cheerleaders, as well as marching bands from the United States, plus organisations from the capital and across the world.
In a message posted on the London New Year’s Day Parade website, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “There really is no better place to welcome in the New Year than London.
“From the world’s greatest fireworks show on New Year’s Eve, to the fun-filled New Year’s Day Parade and Festival, our capital will be celebrating our unity and diversity as we again show the world that London is open to all.”
There really is no better place to welcome in the New Year than London.”Mayor of London
The parade first took place in 1987 involving 2,000 performers, and was originally called the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s Big Parade.
Eve Conway said: “We’re here at the London New Year’s Day Parade to show that Rotary’s campaign to rid the world of polio is bearing fruit.
“There were just 29 cases of wild poliovirus last year in two countries worldwide compared to about a thousand a day in 125 countries when we started our campaign for a polio-free world over 30 years ago.
“We must finish the job and End Polio Now and forever.”
Many sent messages of support by video to Rotary International President, Barry Rassin, who was taking part in the Pasadena Rose Parade along Colorado Boulevard in California later on New Year’s Day with the Rotary Rose Parade Float.