A tree has been planted at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to mark the Rotary Club’s international fight against polio.
The Acer tree has been placed outside the hospital’s women and children’s unit, and symbolises Rotary’s hopes for a polio-free world.
For more than 40 years, Rotary International has helped immunise more than two billion children in 122 countries as part of their commitment to eradicate the crippling disease that could paralyse 200,000 children every year if left uncontrolled.
Angela Butcher, President of Blackpool Palatine Rotary, performed the ceremony with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chairman, Pearse Butler.
She said: “In 1985, Rotary launched its Polio Plus programme to vaccinate all children under the age of five as part of an initiative to eradicate polio and today there are only 88 cases worldwide, confined to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The success of this project is the result of decades of concerted and sustained fund-raising and effort by Rotary and its partners and we are now tantalisingly close to eradicating this disease through vaccination.
“This tree is in remembrance of those who live with the effects of this irreversible disease and a symbol that with continued effort, no child in the future will ever have to live with the symptoms and we are really grateful to everyone at the hospital for their support.”
Mr Butler added: “I am delighted the trust is involved in this project. The success in the fight against polio has been amazing over the past few years and it is important that we keep it up.”