World Polio Day

Blooming Marvellous Effort by Darlington Rotary

More than 12,000 purple crocus bulbs have been planted or given away across Darlington borough over the past two weeks by Darlington Rotary.

The flowers will bloom in spring in gardens, on roadsides and at residential homes across the borough as part of the club’s Purple4Polio campaign.

It brings the total of flowers planted around the town to around 38,000 in the last ten years.

The planting is part of an annual effort marking Rotary International’s fight to eradicate polio, a disabling and life-threatening disease which is still endemic in just two countries and mainly affects children under five.

The purple crocus is a symbol of the campaign, its colour representing the purple dye used to mark the fingers of children who have been immunised.

Projects included 4,000 purple crocus bulbs planted in the gardens and at the entrance leading to Broadacres-run Rockliffe Court scheme in Hurworth by two socially distanced teams of Rotarians.

Rotarian Roland Lang said: ‘It only took us an hour to plant 4,000 bulbs so hopefully in early spring, the gardens will look lovely. We have had a long-standing association with Rockliffe Court so it’s nice to have been able to support them again whilst at the same time raising money for our polio appeal.’

Susan Ballard, Manager of Rockliffe Court, said: ‘On behalf of residents and staff at Rockliffe Court we would like to thank Darlington Rotary for buying the crocuses and giving up their time on a weekend to plant them for us.’

The Abbeyfield home in Darlington also benefited from the planting of bulbs in the gardens and grounds, this time by year four of Polam Hall School, Darlington, in partnership with the club. The school planted 4,000 crocuses at Abbeyfield and in the school grounds.

Year four teacher, Catharine Hood, said: ‘The Year 4 teachers are proud of the children who enthusiastically planted the corms. They also smiled and waved at the residents who watched from the windows and were overjoyed to see the children.’

A team of socially distanced Rotarians also planted around 2,000 bulbs on Rotary Way in Darlington, where thousands of others have been planted in previous years, spelling out ‘Rotary’ in purple flowers.

Rotarian Alex Nicholson bagged up the remaining 2,000 bulbs in sustainable paper bags, and 10 Rotarians delivered a further 200 each free to houses in parts of Darlington, along with an explanatory note, for residents to plant in their gardens.

Another event to mark Purple4Polio this year was a virtual Purple Breakfast where participants, including Darlington MP Peter Gibson, dressed in purple and ate purple food, while getting up to date with the fight to end polio.

Darlington Rotary President, Nigel Little, said: ‘Despite the limitations we are all under, we have undertaken a diverse campaign to highlight the international effort to eradicate this dreadful disease.

‘It was a real team effort with Rotarians and partners taking part across the borough. We’re very grateful to everyone who participated.’


Pic captions:
1. Rotary members planting at Rockliffe Court
2. Polam Hall children plant bulbs at Abbeyfield
3. Delivery of free bags of crocus bulbs
Additional information

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe and in its communities. Darlington Rotary comprises people from all walks of life, all denominations, all ethnicities and all orientations who are dedicated to aiding its community - and having fun doing it.

Pic - doorstep delivery

World Polio Day