Deputy Mayor Nemeth and Dr Sir Liam Donaldson (at right) with the Paralympic Teams from Pakistan and Haiti at York Gate on 30 August 2012.
York Gate played host on Thursday 30th August 2012 for a major event to publicise the work of Rotarians in their campaign to eradicate Polio from the world.
Main board director of Rotary International, Allan O Jagger, supported by a large handful of past, present and future District Governors, and a large group of Rotarians played host, including past Presidents of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. The guests included the Paralympic Teams from Haiti, Niger and Pakistan (in alphabetical order); distinguished VIPs included Councillor Dr Cyril Nemeth, Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, His Excellency the High Commissioner for Pakistan Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Chairman of the Global Polio Eradication Independent Monitoring Board Dr Sir Liam Donaldson (former UK Chief Medical Officer), and Rotarian Shaheed Azeem of the British Pakistan Foundation Board. There were also representatives from the UNICEF New York Office, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Poverty Project, and the Rotary supported British Polio Fellowship.
RI Director Allan Jagger addresses the meeting (3rd left) with (left to right at table) Shaheed Azeem, H.E. Wajid Shamul Hassan, Dep Lord Mayor Cyril Nemeth, and Dr Sir Liam Donaldson
Dr Sir Liam Donaldson, in his address asserted that it was impossible to overstate the importance of the dedication, determination and hard work of Rotarians around the world in working towards the eradication of the disease over the past 30 years. He expressed his confidence that the goal would be achieved.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan expressed his appreciation of the work of Rotarians in eradicating the disease in his country, and confirmed that his country’s government were still determined to become polio-free.
Rotary International main board director Allan O Jagger reaffirmed Rotary’s commitment to the goal and brought the very latest figures to the event. declaring the total number of cases in 2012 as at the 29th August 2012 was just 128 (compared to 356 for the same period in 2011). When the project was started, the number of cases were typically 1,000 every day.
The team managers then introduced their team members,giving a little background about their athletic careers and about their disability. Many paralympic athletes have suffered from polio at some stage in their lives.
The Paralympic Team from Niger pose in front of some of the black and white photos that were lots in the auction held at the event.
The event closed with an auction, to raise funds for the Polio Eradication Campaign, and also to provide financial support for the Pakistani Paralympic Team Members. Lots sold included an autographed rowing shirt, a limited edition print on the theme of the paralympic games, and a large selection of black and white, and colour photographs that were autographed by the paralympians.
This was a key public event to publicise Rotary International’s key role in eradicating polio, and it was entirely appropriate that Rotary in London was chosen to act as hosts for the event by Rotary International. Despite a gusty wind in the garden, all the equipment worked exactly as required, and £3,300 was raised from the auction. All told it was a most successful afternoon that showed Rotary in London in an ideal light.