Funding raised for 53,000 polio vaccines by mile effort
ORGANISERS of a challenge to lay a mile of coins in Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham said it came close to completing their goal.
Rotary Club members in the town lay out thousands of 12-inch cardboard strips of coins end-to-end, in the culmination of the Polio ‘Mile’itus Challenge 2013 on Saturday.
But they were just 300 short of reaching their 5,000 goal needed to make a mile.
One of the event organisers, Roger Champness, of Cheltenham North said: “We didn’t make the full mile.
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“We’ve got a bit of money coming in but we are around 300 short.”
Mr Champness, whose friend died in childhood from polio, added: “We have raised enough to provide 53,000 vaccines.
“The whole thing is pushing towards eradication.
“That’s what we want.”
More than £13,900 was raised for the End Polio Now campaign, to eradicate the disease, which has been wiped out in all but four countries.
Artist PJ Crook was guest of honour at the gathering as she unveiled her painting, to be auctioned for the campaign, which is backed by Bill Gates.
She said: “I’ve been working on the painting for four months.
“I took it on holiday with me to Italy, so that I could finish it off.
“I often get asked to do paintings for charity, but I felt this was a worthwhile cause. Polio has been such a terrible disease in the world.
“I can remember as a child having someone at school who was in a wheelchair because of polio. And I’ve been a speaker at Rotary Club functions.”
The unveiling was also attended by Cheltenham’s Mayor, Wendy Flynn.
She said: “Polio may have been eradicated in the UK but it is still very relevant.
“We are lucky to have vaccinations here.” Theatre nurse, Cathy Parry, 29, from Springbank brought her two children to lay a strip of coins.
She said: “My daughter goes to Springbank Primary Academy and I heard about it through them.
“They all got given cards, so we’ve done two cards through school and we brought one here today.
“My mother in law had polio when she was younger. It’s only £3 a card and it could buy a lot of inoculations.”
People taking part in the challenge filled in the sticky strips with a mix of coins, ranging from 5p to £1, totalling £2.90.
The Polio ‘Mile’itus Challenge was run by the Rotary Clubs of Cheltenham.
Polio has been eradicated in the UK since 1998.