GREEN-FINGERED members of a local Rotary club rolled up their sleeves recently to plant 4,000 purple crocus bulbs in the centre of the town.

The members of Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary planted the bulbs in two grassy sections of Colquhoun Square as part of the international Rotary movement’s ongoing mission to eradicate polio.

Rotary International has been working to eradicate the crippling childhood disease since 1985, and the Colquhoun Square planting day coincided with news that an independent commission of health experts has certified the global eradication of the type 3 strain of polio, which has not been detected anywhere since a case in Nigeria in November 2012.

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That leaves just the ‘wild’ type 1 strain of the virus, still endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, following the official eradication of the type 2 strain in 2015.

In the last 34 years, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.

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Purple crocuses have long been used by Rotary as a visual signal of the success of its fight against polio, since children who have received the polio vaccination have their fingers marked by a purple dye.

Colin Shannon from Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary said: "We look forward to enjoying their flowers next year."

(Photos by Brian Averell)

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