Cathedral to welcome Rotarians cycling to eradicate polio

Photocall from Canterbury Diocese and the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta

On Wednesday 17 July (2.30pm), the Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral, Nick Papadopulos, will welcome to the Cathedral seven members of the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta, who are cycling to raise money to help eradicate Polio.

Over four days (15-18 July) the seven cyclists will cover more than 150 miles around Kent & East  Sussex  to  raise  money  for  ‘End  Polio  Now’,  Rotary  International’s  campaign  to eradicate polio from the world.

With stops at Canterbury and Kent’s major towns, the “Tour de Kent” cycle ride also aims to increase awareness of polio.

Rotarian John Fisher of the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta said: “Since the global polio eradication initiative began more than 25 years ago, Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide. Now we have to help finish the job in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Our aim is to help fund ongoing vaccination campaigns to protect children from paralysis. This will take lots of vaccine, lots of volunteer hours and lots of money.”

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. The strategy to eradicate polio is based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.

The Tour de Kent cycling team is sponsored by Saga Holidays and the team has already held a prize draw for a cruise to the Norway fjords and raised over £3000 for End Polio Now.

The Tour de Kent started in Gravesend on 15th  July with a send-off from the Mayor of Gravesend and finishes in Dover on 18th July. The itinerary is as follows:

  • 15th July – Starts at lunchtime in Gravesend and ends the day in Tunbridge Wells
  • 16th July – Tunbridge Wells to Battle and then on to Hythe
  • 17th July – Hythe to Herne Bay then on to Canterbury before going to Margate
  • 18th July – Margate to Dover where the Tour de Kent ends

The idea for the Tour de Kent cycle ride was first made public on World Polio Day in October 2012. Then on Rotary Day, 23rd February 2013, five of the cycling team presented an End Polio Now letter to the Prime Minister in Downing Street. A social media campaign has since been used to raise awareness of End Polio Now and provide updates on cycle training progress.


Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Diocesan Director of Communications: 07876 210446

Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta: 01795 428223