South Shields Town Hall turning purple for World Polio Day

South Shields’ historic Town Hall was bathed in a purple light on Sunday to mark World Polio Day.

By Tom Patterson
Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:37 am
Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr Pat Hay with John Gardner outside South Shields Town Hall, marking World Polio Day.
Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr Pat Hay with John Gardner outside South Shields Town Hall, marking World Polio Day.

Polio is a virus that usually attacks children under the age of five and can lead to paralysis.

Although no cure has been found, a safe and effective vaccine has resulted in the disease wiped out in most countries but it is still widespread in some parts of the world.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, joined Cleadon and District Rotary Club member John Gardner to light up the Town Hall.

For more than 30 years Rotary has worked, with its partners, to help eradicate polio worldwide.

The Mayor said: “Until polio is eradicated completely, no child is truly safe from this horrendous virus.

“Rotary have played an incredible role in helping to vaccinate more than 2.5 billion children worldwide. Their work, and that of their partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent.

“By lighting up our beautiful Town Hall, we have shown our solidarity with people across the globe who are sadly still affected by this preventable disease.”

Mr Gardner added: “The work to eradicate polio is a real success story for Rotary. As a result of its efforts and those of its partners almost 19.4 million people who would otherwise have been paralyzed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died.

“I’d like to thank South Tyneside Council for lighting up the Town Hall and raising awareness of this awful disease.”

World Polio Day is held on October 24 every year in celebration of the birth of Jonas Salk, the American researcher who developed the first polio vaccine in 1955.

In 1961 Albert Sabin developed the first monovalent oral polio vaccine followed by the oral polio vaccine in 1963 that has reduced polio worldwide by 99%.

World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago with the aim of raising awareness of the vaccination and eradicating the virus.

Rotary International is an international service organization whose aim is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.