Rotary reaches ‘End Polio’ target

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THE ROTARY Club of Carnoustie closed a successful ‘End Polio Now’ campaign with a Folk Night in the Station Hotel on Friday.

This was the last of four concerts which have accounted for around £4,500 of the £6,500 raised by the club.

The nights were organised and compered by past president John Knox, who extended thanks to the many people who had helped along the way and particularly Ivor and Katherine Farmer at the Station Hotel, and fellow performers Howard Evans, Ian Grimmond, Tony Simpson, Andrew Webster, Graeme Sutherland, Janet Williamson, Dennis Arnott, Nick Hunter and James Hutcheson.

But perhaps the person due the most thanks is Brenda McLeod whose idea it was, in 2005, to arrange a one-off folk night as part of Tartan Week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Abbey Folk Club, a decision meaning that in addition to Rotary other charities in the area have benefited.

Hamish Leslie explained: “Although Rotary International had raised over $800 million since the campaign to end polio began in 1985, to achieve the final thrust, in 2008, the organisation was challenged by Bill Gates to raise $200 million by July this year and this target was reached last month. It has been matched with $325 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Our club was asked to raise £6,000 and with the help of The Abbey Folk Club and Friends, and the generous people of Carnoustie, this target has been exceeded.”

Mr Leslie concluded: “There were no new cases of polio in India last year, leaving Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria still endemic with cases numbering less than 100. When you consider that, at the start of the campaign in 1985, there were 1,000 cases a day worldwide, the achievement has been immense.

“Why is so much money required? Well, a dose of vaccine only costs about 50p but, on the latest National Immunisation Day in India alone, 177 million children were vaccinated. However, because the virus can so easily spread again, the fight goes on, to rid the world finally of this terrible disease.”