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5th Jul, 2022

Thousands of purple flowers along Shakespeare Line to raise awareness of polio

Editorial Correspondent 27th Oct, 2020 Updated: 27th Oct, 2020

THOUSANDS of purple crocuses along a railway line to Stratford is hoped to raise awareness of a life-threatening disease.

To mark World Polio Day, which took place earlier this month, West Midlands Railway has begun planting 8,000 purple crocus corms along its Shakespeare Line.

The purple crocus is a symbol of Rotary International’s fight to eradicate polio across the world.

The infection, which causes paralysis, has been almost eradicated thanks to the efforts of a number of charities, the United Nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, working together for over 20 years. It does still exist however in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Friends of the Shakespeare Line is involved in the railway line project, and along with station staff, other Rotarians, and lead volunteer Vivienne Wilkes, to plant the crocus corms across 18 stations – from Bordesley to Stratford. The plants are set to bloom in spring to create a stunning purple display for passengers to enjoy.

As part of the campaign, the Friends group has pledged to donate £500 towards the End Polio Now Campaign, and all donations are set to be tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which founded the movement. This will help 3,750 children across the world receive the vital Polio vaccine.

Fraser Pithie, from Friends of the Shakespeare Line, said: “Vivienne is an energetic station adopter for Yardley Wood and this year she has ensured that all of our Shakespeare Line stations can take part in this worthy charitable cause to support the global efforts to end polio.

“We are delighted to be part of this activity and we’re all looking forward to seeing the purple splash of colour next spring as the bulbs come to flower.”

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