“Walk a Mile to End Polio” 29 October 2023

Big journeys start with a single step. There has been no bigger journey for Rotary than our mission to End Polio.  Thanks to Rotary’s efforts, 20 million people have been saved from paralysis and are able to walk today. This fundraising activity reminds us of the life-changing difference eradicating polio is having.

Walk a Mile to End Polio is simple – Rotarians around Great Britain and Ireland were simply asked to head outside and walk a mile. alone or in groups, as close as possible to World Polio Day, 24 October.  Winchester Rotary took up the challenge and on Sunday 29 October walked a route around the city centre, starting and finishing in the Cathedral Close, devised by Paul Russell and Mke Billington.  The aim was to raise awareness of how close we are to complete eradication of the disease – and that we must not give up!  Fundraising was secondary – “just a mile for just a pound” became the catchphrase and donors could give anything from £1 upwards.

A group of about 20 Winchester Rotarians, friends and family took part – and we were delighted to be joined by the Deputy Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Russell Gordon-Smith, who told us he had seen the effects of polio when working in Cairo, several years ago.

Mary Blaxland of Winchester Radio joined us at the start and interviewed Kordo Saeed and myself, both polio survivors.  Kordo’s son Zephan joined the walk on his father’s behalf.  Mary’s interview is now online and can be heard here: https://winchester.radio/winchester-now/

The donation portal remains open: https://rotaryfoundationgbi.beaconforms.com/form/baa8da4e

We are also grateful to the Hampshire Chronicle for their publicity for the event, both before and after and also to Winchester Cathedral for allowing us to start and finish there.

Photos can be seen here: Walk a Mile to End Polio

Gill Russell

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