The Colour Purple – FoSOC supports Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’.

Many will remember Polio scares, particularly in the 1950s, and taking vaccine in a sugar cube. In 1985, Rotary International pledged that it would eradicate the dreadful disease from every country in the World and launched a campaign called ‘Polio Plus’.

In recent years, to mark the advanced stages of the work of immunisation, a new name (End Polio Now) was introduced, and a new symbol adopted, to draw attention to the Cause and as a visual reminder of the huge progress to date – the planting of deep, purple-coloured crocus corms, planned to bloom to coincide with World Rotary Day on 24 March each year. The purple crocus was chosen because it is the colour of the dye marked on each Third World child’s little finger to show they have been immunised.  In 2018 and 2019, Southampton Clausentum Rotary Club, whose members include Billy and Geoff from FoSOC, planted crocus at Vokes Memorial Gardens, near Dock Gate 4, and Park Walk (top of New Road) as well as at local schools. For this year, the planting was extended to two sites in Kingsbridge Lane, near the Central Station, as well as the Gardens and the schools. The ‘fledgling’ crocus at Kingsbridge Lane should display well next year. In 2018. Clausentum provided FoSOC with corms to plant at the Old Cemetery. FoSOC is honoured, and very pleased, to have been able to link up with Clausentum and participate in this way with the International ‘End Polio Now’ project. If you visit the cemetery in mid-February/early March, look out for a glorious display just inside the main gates – shown in this year’s pictures by Bruce Larner and Val Ferguson – set against the backdrop of some of the cemetery’s imposing family memorials. Photos of other sites courtesy Rotarian Nick Barrett

A most generous contributor to End Polio Now has been the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary is now very, very close to achieving its goal of a Polio-free World. On 24 October each year, World Polio Day, Rotary celebrates progress with the project and shares it with the world. More can be found about ‘End Polio Now’ at It is the largest humanitarian project ever undertaken, A Rotary project that has been, and is, of such important benefit to everyone throughout the World.

Geoff Watts