Polio campaign boosted
Matamata Rotary Club members who attended the Rotary International’s annual convention in Sydney recently said breaking world records was just one of the highlights.
Eight Matamata Rotarians and their partners attended the convention and were part of not one but two world records. One was the most people on the Sydney Harbour bridge, 180, and the other being the most flags on the bridge, nearly 200.
Meeting the Rotary international president Ron Burton along with inspiring Paralympian and Rotary ambassadorial scholar Ade Adepitan were also highlights.
Adepitan, who got polio in Nigeria, went onto represent Great Britain in the Paralympics in basketball.
‘‘ He was one of the most impressive speakers,’’ former Matamata Rotary Club president Eric Tanner said.
‘‘He was humorous, informative and acted as an ambassador for polio; he went back to Nigeria where he was born and he rallied the masses as those with polio were kept out of sight so he raised awareness of that.’’
Another speaker was Kelsi Cox, a Canadian on a Rotary Scholarship, who was working in Fiji.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a $100 million commitment from his government to ending polio at the convention. The funds will be spread over five years and will go towards making countries in northern Africa and the Middle East, where outbreaks have been reported, polio-free.
It will also help Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, where the disease is endemic. The Matamata Rotarians also raised awareness of the Rotary International End Polio Now project by taking part in a 3km walk.