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The British Polio Fellowship and the Rotary Club of Derwentside in Consett!

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2014-03-11 14:13:37 - Saturday 8 March witnessed a partnership between Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship literally take root in the North East. Bob Howell, The British Polio Fellowship Trustee and Sunderland branch member, joined Michael Dynes president of the Rotary Club of Derwentside and local volunteers for a ceremonial planting of a sapling commemorating the two working in collaboration in a significant year for both charities.

The planting took place in a one-acre field in Crookhall near Consett, as part of the Big Tree Plant.
The project was to raise awareness and funds for Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign. A £5 donation allowed people to plant a tree in their name or in someone’s memory in the fight against Polio. Hundreds of saplings were planted delivering amazing woodland for people to enjoy in the future.

“It was a great pleasure and an honour to plant a sapling with Michael Dynes as part of the Rotary Club of Derwentside’s Polio Wood project,” said Bob Howell, accompanied on the day by Mrs Shirley Russell, a Polio sufferer and member of the Sunderland branch. “Their hospitality was

second to none from beginning to end, with bacon sandwiches, hot soup, cakes and tea and coffee for Shirley and myself and all those who helped in the task. Rotary and the Fellowship have worked together on several occasions and I’m sure this will be just the start of ways in which we can help each other this year.

In fighting Polio here and overseas, Rotary and the Fellowship share many goals in common and we wanted to do our bit for them, while marking our own 75th Anniversary. On behalf of Shirley, myself and the Fellowship, I would like to thank The Rotary Club of Derwentside for inviting us to attend and I will certainly be going back in years to come to see how our ‘Polio Wood’ is doing.”

“We are grateful to Bob for coming along today and to the Fellowship for getting involved with our Polio Wood project,” said Michael Dynes. “Our official 10th birthday was the 7 March, so linking in with the Fellowship’s 75th birthday is a nice link and a fitting tribute to the work both of us do to fight Polio.”

Once complete, the Polio Wood will include the common oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Dogwood, Wild Cherry, hazel and Hawthorn and just as Polio has left an unwanted legacy in the form of late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), it is hoped the wood will leave a lasting legacy to those who have lived with Polio. The Fellowship is engaging in a similar project, planting wild flowers to mark the charity’s 75th Anniversary in 2014.

“We see linking up with Rotary as important step in our efforts to raise awareness of Polio and PPS here in the UK and overseas,” said CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, Ted Hill, MBE. “As supporters of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, we are keen to remind people that as long as Polio remains a reality worldwide, future generations will experience the debilitating effects of PPS and we will continue to work with our friends in Rotary where and when we can.”

Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship have a history of working together. Winchester Rotary and The Fellowship joined forces in October 2013 for the first ever Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day and the End Polio Now campaign. Such cooperation highlights the work of the Fellowship and the Rotarians, plus the plight of those still living with Polio and the 120,000 people with PPS in the UK.

A presentation was given at the end of the day by The Rotary Club of Derwentside to the local community, consisting of a framed scroll in thanks for their assistance and another to the Groundworks team for all their hard work and for demonstrating how to plant the saplings.

Founded in 2004, The Rotary Club of Derwentside meets at nearby Beamish Hall on Wednesday evenings and has spent the last ten years supporting Rotary International’s efforts in the fight against Polio. Members having taken part in Polio immunisation in Africa and India and the Plant a Tree for Polio is just the latest of the club’s initiatives to commemorate its tenth anniversary.

For more details please contact The British Polio Fellowship on 0800 018 0586, by email at or visit the website at


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Jon Gardner
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