Rotarians gear up to rid the world of polio

ROTARY Presidents from North Devon met their District Governor in Barnstaple to decide a strategy for Rotary s Thanks for Life Day on February 23. It is hoped that this event will help to eradicate polio throughout the world. After years of fund-r

ROTARY Presidents from North Devon met their District Governor in Barnstaple to decide a strategy for Rotary's "Thanks for

Life" Day on February 23.

It is hoped that this event will help to eradicate polio throughout the world.

After years of fund-raising, Rotary is now within a stone's throw of achieving this aim.


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So impressive is the latest push to raise funds that Bill Gates of Microsoft has contacted Rotary International to say he will match any money raised.

While Rotarians are hoping to raise funds on the day, the eventis also being used as a chance to spread the word about Rotary activities.

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Many clubs will be holding fun events as well as opening shops for a short time to exhibit what Rotary has to offer.

Attending the North Devon meeting with the District Governor were Mike Cracknell from the Bideford Bridge club, Chris Blanchard from the Bideford club, Jim Williams from South Molton and Martin Chamberlain from the Barnstaple Link Club.

The initiative is part of Rotary's national "Thanks for Life"

campaign, which will see hundreds of Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland linking up with schools, businesses,

organisations and individuals to hold a range of events

to raise the �1 million targeton February 23, which is Rotary's 105th birthday.

Jeremy Tucker, the District Governor just back from India, said: "We are so close to stamping out polio and we hope this fun event will encourage more people to get behind the initiative. It is vital that we eradicate it from the four remaining endemic countries or the likelihood is that the disease will spread again to the countries which have been cleared. With the public's help we can destroy polio.

"Rotary has been involved in this fight for 25 years and the world is so close to being free from polio for good, thanks to the joint hard work of organisations and governments. How fantastic for a town, individual, business or organisation to join the fight and be able to say, 'I helped to wipe out a disease for only the second time in history, after smallpox. I stopped children from dying - I helped change the world'."

Tesco stores throughout the country will allow Rotary to collect money from customers on Saturday, February 27. Sainsbury stores are also supporting the event.

Every �1 raised in this campaign will buy five doses of the special anti-polio vaccine, which will protect children from the disease for ever.

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