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2,000 crocus bulbs will mark End Polio Now campaign

More than 2,000 crocus bulbs were planted in Abbey Park, Leicester, by members of the Rotary Club of Leicester Novus, helped by 18 Chinese business students from De Montfort University.
The project is the second collaboration between the club and the city council, the first being the clean-up of the ‘pocket park’ in Walnut Street. The site for the planting in Abbey Park was selected by Penny Brown, of the city council, and the club’s Community Service lead Jim Matthews. It is close to the pond at the northern end of the boating lake.



During a fortuitous 90-minute rain-free period the planters dug dozens of shallow holes deep enough to prevent squirrels from discovering the corms.
Jim Matthews thanked Penny Brown for loaning city council equipment and for turning up to help on her Sunday off duty.
He said: “We’re so grateful to Penny and especially to the 18 students from De Montfort University. Most were completing their third year of business degrees in Leicester, having started them in China. It was lovely to chat to
them and discover that some had helped their grandparents garden in China. For others, it was a completely new experience.
“What is really lovely is that they all said they would like to be involved in Rotary’s next environmental projects. We are so grateful to them.”

The Chinese students were not, by a long way, the youngest helpers.

Young Max was walking through the park with his dad and his brother. He was very keen to play his part.

Max, the youngest of our crocus planters

Max, the youngest of our crocus planters


Please click on the photo below to hear Jim Matthews explain why the crocus plants are purple


Please click on the photo below to hear Jim Matthews explain why the crocus plants are purple

With any luck, Abbey Park’s squirrels will thrive this winter without eating our crocus bulbs and in the spring we will be able to see hundreds of purple crocuses as a reminder of Rotary’s 30-year campaign to rid the world of polio.
When we started, one thousand new cases of polio were being diagnosed every day – 350,000 every year. So far in 2016, there have been only 28 cases. All of those were in Nigeria. Only when there have been zero cases in the world for three years can we be sure that polio will never again cripple and kill children.
The reason purple crocuses were chosen to be the campaign’s emblem are that when Rotary and other volunteers drop oral polio vaccine on the tongues of children, their little fingers are marked with purple dye so that the on-the-ground volunteers know which children have received the vaccines, which have so far cost millions of pounds and man-hours.
For more details, please visit

Job Done... the volunteers are happy with a job well done

Job Done… the volunteers are happy with a job well done