Added on 20 January 2010

Sherborne garden lovers will be treated to a Gardening Extravaganza on Wednesday 24 February at the Digby Hall as part of an initiative by the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles to help end the war against polio.

The gardening event will feature an illustrated talk by Mark Lane, the Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace, when the audience will be treated to some of the stories associated with this magnificent 39 acre royal garden in the middle of Westminster. Some of Dorset's own garden experts will also be on hand for a local version of "Gardeners' Question Time". An area of demonstrations and displays present both the unusual and the practical. An insight into the art of Japanese gardening will be will shown through the use of a Japanese ladder; specialists from Sherborne's Castle Garden Centre, part of The Gardens Group, will be demonstrating pruning techniques and ideas for creating Spring tubs and water features; botanical prints and cards will be displayed by illustrator Christine Battle, a distinguished graduate of the Chelsea Physic Garden; the organisers of the gold award winning Sherborne in Bloom event will outline plans for 2010.

The initiative is part of Rotary's national Thanks for Life campaign, that will see hundreds of Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland linking up with schools, businesses, organisations and individuals to hold a range of fund-raising events to raise the £1 million target set for the week of 22nd February (Thanks For Life - Rotary Day, Tuesday, February 23, 2010 is Rotary's 105th birthday).

Tickets for Sherborne's Gardening Extravaganza are available at Castle Gardens, Sherborne's garden centre, part of The Gardens Group.

Michael Peart, President of the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles, said: "We are so close to stamping out polio and we hope this fun event will encourage more people to get behind the initiative. It is vital that we eradicate it from the four remaining endemic countries or the likelihood is that the disease will spread again to the countries which have been cleared. With the public's help we can destroy polio."

"Rotary has been involved in this fight for 25 years and the world is so close to being free from polio for good thanks to the joint hard work of organisations and governments. Every £1 raised in this campaign will purchase five doses of the special anti-polio vaccine. These children will be protected against polio - forever. How fantastic for our community to join the fight and be able to say, 'I helped to wipe out a disease for only the second time in history, after smallpox. I stopped children from dying - I helped change the world'."

The Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles has so far raised nearly a thousand pounds towards polio eradication and hopes to achieve its own target of £3,000 by the beginning of 2012. Interested residents should contact Roger Johnson (coverackhouse@gmail.com or 01935 814307) or visit www.ribi.org/thanks-for-life.


Notes to editors:

• Polio eradication has been Rotary's top priority since 1985. Since then, polio cases have fallen from 350,000 a year to a recorded 1,600 last year. Thanks to Rotary's help, two billion children have been protected from the disease, and the number of endemic countries has fallen from 125 to just four: Afghanistan, northern India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

• It is estimated that five million children have been spared from disability and 250,000 deaths have been averted.

• Rotary is the largest private sector contributor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with partners including the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

• Rotary members have so far raised US $700 million to fund polio immunization activities and every penny raised goes to the project. Rotarians all work on a purely voluntary basis so funds are not drained away in administration costs. Rotary clubs in Great Britain and Ireland have so far donated more than £10.5 million (US$20 million) to polio immunization initiatives.

• Money raised goes towards funding national immunisation drives for all children under age five in endemic and high risk countries, as well as tracking possible incidences of the disease, measures to control outbreaks and improving public health infrastructures.

• Rotary International is a worldwide voluntary organisation of 1.2 million dedicated business professionals and community leaders. In Great Britain and Ireland there are over 55,000 men and women of all ages from all walks of life in Rotary clubs who share a passion and commitment to helping and improving communities both locally and across the world. Each member enjoys giving something back to those in need, as well as building business and social networking opportunities, learning new skills and having a huge amount of fun. For more information, visit www.ribi.org

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