MORE than £300,000 has been raised to help fight against Polio.

It was almost 40 years ago that rotary clubs across the world made it their mission to eradicate the infectious disease.

More recently, early last year, the Purple4Polio project was launched with the support of Wilkin and Sons in Tiptree.

The jam producers made 52,000 pots of their delicious greengage and plum jam, which the Rotary Club of Kelvedon & District offered to distribute around the country.

Money raised from jam sales goes towards the Purple4Polio cause, which is being supported by the Gazette.

David Curtis, from the Kelvedon & District Rotary Club, gave a fundraising update.

He said: "It is very gratifying to report that Rotarians, their families and friends together with many members of the public up and down the land have so far raised the magnificent sum of £125,000 for the jam project.

"With a matching scheme from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this amount will be increased to £375,000.

"The worldwide rotary movement first made polio eradication its mission in 1979. In 1988 rotary joined hands with UN and US agencies to form the Global Polio Eradication initiative.

"Today, more than two and a half billion children have been vaccinated worldwide at a cost of $15 billion.

"There are now just three countries where polio is endemic. As long as the polio virus is still at large immunisation of nearly half a billion children each year has to continue requiring on going funding."

Also, for World Polio Day, 5,000 purple crocuses were planted in Castle Park with a further five primary schools planting 1,000 each on their grounds.

Purple is the colour of the dye placed on a child’s little finger after they have been immunised, owing to the campaign name Purple4Polio.

To finish the job more than two billion doses of oral polio vaccine have to be administered each year in more than 60 countries until the world is finally certified polio free.

The three remaining countries are Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.