BANBURY TOWN HALL GOES PURPLE FOR POLIO
On Wednesday 24th October a purple glow lit up Banbury Town Hall to mark World Polio Day.
Rotary Clubs across the world have been raising awareness and funds since 1985 to make polio the second disease to be totally eradicated from the world. (Smallpox was the first.) Both of our local Rotary Clubs (Banbury and Cherwell) have been actively promoting the cause in recent years.
Local schools – primary, secondary and special – have formed a partnership with Rotary to carpet Banbury with drifts of purple crocuses and stage concerts each spring to celebrate the new year’s growth and raise funds tor vaccinations.
Over the past five years the local Rotary Club Crocus Projects Partnership involved 43 schools. Planting this autumn will bring the total number of ruby giant crocus corms planted to over 100,000. Since the concerts began in 2014, the local partnership has raised sufficient funds to immunise a third of a million children.
Both Cherwell District and Banbury Town Council have supported the schools and Rotary in this local contribution to the worldwide effort. Local churches, businesses, community groups and individuals have backed the events and a certificate to commemorate the achievements of the past five years was sent to all involved during summer and autumn this year.
The purple lighting of Banbury Town Hall will celebrate the whole community’s participation and commitment to continue the battle until the disease is finally defeated.
One extension of the local crocus concerts initiative in the coming year is a challenge to local adult choirs to match the efforts of primary school and secondary school choirs by staging concerts next spring. “We’ve had a very positive initial response from local choirs to our invitation,” commented Ian Rodrick, one of the organisers. “The secondary schools concerts will again take place in March – with proceeds shared between Polio Eradication and Helen and Douglas House Hospice. We’re still seeking a date for our adult choirs event – so watch this space!”
Stephen’s Summer Steaming
The sun shone on Stephen’s Summer Steaming Sunday last. A BBQ, train rides, tennis or croquet all helped to make the afternoon a special time for our members, families and friends. Even President Alan was entrusted with being the train driver, which he did with much aplomb.
As well as a fantastic social afternoon, the event raised over £500 for Rotary Foundation.
Having fun and helping others is truly a Rotary activity.
The West End comes to Banbury
Last Saturday, to celebrate the start of a new Rotary year, 200 people packed the theatre at Tudor Hall School, and witnessed a “West End” concert. Simon Adkins (originally from Banbury and currently the resident choreographer of 42nd St in the West End), Alison Dormer & Clare Rickard accompanied by Rob Cousins performed a wide and varied range of songs from the Musicals, many of which the three have performed in during their time as Musical Theatre professionals.
Newly installed President of Banbury Rotary Club, Alan Wolstencroft, who was instrumental (pardon the pun) in setting the concert up stole a line from Jersey Boys (Simon was in the original West End cast) and said “Oh What a Night”!
All four performers donated their time, appearance fee and expenses to support Banbury Rotary Club’s concert which was raising funds for Alan’s Africa Sierra Leone schools projects and Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. Simon said “it was great to be back in Banbury, seeing family and friends, performing with three great people and helping Alan & Rotary raise funds for two great causes”.
Alan said “Rotary’s theme this year is “Rotary – Making A Difference”. The concert was a great way to start my year as President and I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the four professionals for putting on such a great show, and giving freely of their time, and I must also acknowledge the wonderful support we received from Tudor Hall School and the local businesses who donated items for the raffle and auction”.
PHOTO: From left to right: Alan Wolstencroft, Clare Rickard, Alison Dormer, Simon Adkins and seated Rob Cousins
A Night at the Musicals
featuring West End performers Simon Adkins & Alison Dormer
Saturday 8th July
7.30pm Tudor Hall School
Raising funds for
Banbury Rotary’s Sierra Leone Education Projects
Rotary’s End Polio Now Campaign
To book tickets click here for the Ticket Ordering Page
In spring 2014 and 2015 we hosted collaborative “Crocus Concerts” involving all local secondary schools. In each of these years our Rotary Club worked together with the schools to plant some 6,000 crocus bulbs and to send £5,000 to Rotary Foundation, where our donation was tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In each of the first two years of the project we raised sufficient funds to immunise 45,000 children.
Last autumn we initiated work on the third year of our five-year local contribution to this worldwide effort. Under the guidance of John Bennett & Ron Barnett and with the support of Cherwell District Council, Banbury Town Council and Sanctuary Housing, secondary students, local primary school pupils and Rotarians planted an incredible 19,000/20,000 crocus bulbs! Although circumstances prevented a third series of collaborative crocus concerts, individual secondary and primary school fundraising efforts together with Rotary Club commitments have so far raised almost £2,500. A concert at Broughton Church by the Oxford Male Voice Choir on Saturday 2nd July gave the Purple4Polio Campaign and this fourth year’s crocus projects a brilliant start – raising over £1,600. Many thanks to Alan, Ron and the Foundation Committee.
This coming year Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RIBI) has decided to celebrate the centenary of Rotary Foundation by planting five million crocus corms throughout the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the fact that we are on the verge of a tremendous achievement. RIBI has established a partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society on this national project – PURPLE4POLIO. Each pack of 5,000 crocus corms purchased by local Clubs through the scheme costs £85. In June we ordered one pack so that each secondary school will again receive 500 corms to plant on your grounds – adding to the 1,000 they each received during the first two years of our local project. In July – after consultation with Cherwell District and Banbury Town Councils about further planting in public spaces this autumn and Whitley Stimpson’s generous sponsorship of a further pack, we ordered a further seven packs. In partnership with secondary schools, community groups and the councils involved John Bennett will be leading as many volunteer Rotarians as possible in the planting of 40,000 bulbs this autumn.
Also, Ron is repeating last year’s Primary Schools Project. Club has requested a District Grant of £300, enabling us to match-fund and order ten packs for Primary Schools. In addition to planting 500 corms each, secondary schools will again be participating in collaborative Crocus concerts in early spring 2017. Our PURPLE4POLIO Working Group will oversee our Club response to the RIBI/District Projects which coincide with the fourth year of our own local Crocus Projects.
Current state of Polio: Just two countries remain where polio is endemic. Internet links for further details: www.polioeradication.org and www.endpolio.org. Here are a couple of headline facts:
- In 2015, a total of 74 cases of polio were reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two remaining polio endemic countries, down from 334 cases worldwide in 2014.
- “We’ve come a long way since the establishment of the GPEI in 1988, from 125 polio-endemic countries to just two,” said Chris Maher, manager of WHO’s regional polio eradication unit in Amman, Jordan. “We are at the final frontier of eradication. A lot of work is still needed, but if we can stop polio transmission in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the close of 2016, the whole world will finally be free of wild poliovirus.”
- Latest statistics on Wild Polio Virus: This year to date Afghanistan 5, Pakistan 11 (compared with totals in 2015 of 20 & 54 respectively).
Oxford Male Voice Choir Concert
A capacity audience filled Broughton Church on the evening of Saturday 2nd July to be entertained by the Oxford Male Voice Choir and soloist Tavia Lewis.
Under the baton of Musical Director Helen Swift, the choir entertained us with a varied programme ranging from traditional Welsh songs such as ‘O Gymru’ and ‘Myfanwy’ to more modern pieces like ‘Unchained Melody’ and ‘Rhythm of Life’, which were all very much appreciated by the audience.
The evening also saw our very own Young Musician of the Year winner, Tavia Lewis, give excellent renditions of pieces ranging from Fauré’s ‘Pie Jesu’ to ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables.
The Church Concert was followed by an impromptu performance in the Saye and Sele Arms much to the delight of all present.
The evening was a double success for as well as being a most enjoyable piece of musical entertainment, it also raised the magnificent sum of £1,500 for the End Polio Now Campaign.
The Dome Challenge
Monday 23rd February, and Fred Riches and Alan Wolstencroft braved the cold in Greenwich, but the sun was shining and just a few clouds in the sky as the first group gathered in the anteroom to watch the safety DVD before donning our safety gear – jacket, shoes, harness and link which we needed to attach to the chest-level wire that’s mounted beside the canvassy, bouncy walkway that leads up to the top viewing platform and down the other side.
We hadn’t realised the Dome measurements and positioning were all planned in relation to time. It’s 365 metres circumference and 52 metres in height, with twelve of those spikes sticking out – and all as close as possible to 0 degrees longitude.
We were a group of about 16 with a leader. The first bit goes up a one in three slope, so you’re digging your toes in and leaning forward while pushing the link along the wire with one hand and holding on to another safety wire/rail with the other.
Then it evens out gradually till you reach the top. There you’re allowed to unchain yourself and look around on all sides of the viewing platform. Highly recommended for the summer! Brilliant views over the Thames and across London.
However, the weather decided to do the dirty on us and just as we reached the top a large black cloud chucked a mixture of sleet and hail at us through the rising gale. I have a lovely video of two ladies who helped organise the event reading a congratulatory message from a leading international Rotarian. Picture’s great. Sound = loud crackling wind… Hey ho!
Then it was back onto the wire link for the clamber down, perhaps the most strenuous bit, because the last bit is one in three slope as well and pulls on your thighs while you try to keep your balance.
Overall a really good experience – and thank you very much for helping use reach our sponsorship targets.