THE British Polio Fellowship marks our 80th birthday in January 2019. What a wonderful present if next year could finally be the one we see the end of polio forever.

Those who have followed the battle to beat polio know these hopes have been expressed before. Polio has proved more stubborn than anyone imagined, so with pockets of polio still in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, no one is complacent.

The end game is now tantalisingly within our grasp but that we are still here supporting 120,000 living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in the UK shows we will not truly have consigned polio to the history books until every last survivor with PPS is no more and that will be decades into the future. British Polio has invaluable knowledge of how to treat PPS and with self-management and care pathways independent living is possible.

Eighty years is time enough to change the world. We like to think we did. Transforming perceptions of what those with disabilities could achieve and disability rights will be one of our lasting legacies.

We have lessons for a polio free world and of the danger posed by eschewing vaccination. Anti-vax must be confronted, or we will have learned nothing.

We call on everyone to mark our birthday by supporting Rotary and the End Polio Now campaign and to join us as we mark the milestone of 80 years of British Polio.

Our members and thousands more still need your help and we seek a sponsor to help us mark the past. Call us now on 0800 043 1935 or visit

David Mitchell

Chairman of The British Polio Fellowship