Kids inspire as they campaign to end polio

CAMPAIGN EFFORT: Sian Hooson-Owen, left and Jamie Kneen, right, with some of the writsbands being sold to raise funds for the campaign. PHOTO: Mike Proudfoot MP120808 (1).

CAMPAIGN EFFORT: Sian Hooson-Owen, left and Jamie Kneen, right, with some of the writsbands being sold to raise funds for the campaign. PHOTO: Mike Proudfoot MP120808 (1).

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THE first two recipients of Douglas Rotary’s new Junior Recognition Awards have been announced.

Jamie Kneen and Sian Hooson-Owen both impressed the club with their efforts on behalf of its End Polio Now campaign which has seen a huge international programme of money raising to eradicate the disease once and for all.

Campaign chairman Kevin Kneen said both children had put in an impressive effort.

‘Both Jamie and Sian are to be commended for their efforts. It is really fantastic that children on the Isle of Man are looking to help other less fortunate children across the world,’ he said.

Though the award has been granted for many years by Rotary clubs in other regions, Mr Kneen said this is the first time it had been made by Douglas Rotary.

‘We wanted to do something that recognised the work of the children because a lot of the money raised has come from the secondary schools and Ballaqualyle Infants. The children really have been prominent in this,’ he said.

As part of the End Polio Now campaign, Mr Kneen said they spoke to around 5,500 schoolchildren across the island with many responding by organising fund raising events.

But he said both Sian and Jamie had gone beyond the call of duty.

Sian, from Ramsey, who is only nine, put her heart and soul into helping with the appeal’s February street collection, helping out for several hours during the day.

Jamie, 13, from Douglas, helped out with the street collection and has also helped to put together power point presentations about the appeal as well as helping out with the various presentations being made to different bodies such as church groups.

‘Sian is only nine so for her to recognise the importance of the work was superb,’ Mr Kneen said.

‘Jamie is at St Ninian’s and I think he boosted our donations by charming some of the older ladies during the collection.’

The Rotary organisation has been campaigning since 1985 to eradicate polio which causes paralysis and sometimes death. Since then recorded cases have fallen from 35,000 world wide to around 1,600 in 2008.

A total of £350m was pledged towards the eradication project by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation if Rotary could raise a contribution of £200m, which it has now succeeded in doing.

The disease remains endemic in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan but India, a previously endemic country, completed 12 months with no reported cases earlier this year.

‘We need to keep focused because not achieving it does not bear thinking about,’ Mr Kneen said.

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