Rotary members revved up their bikes and on Friday, October 4, left Merimbula’s Hylands Corner for a bike ride to promote their fundraising to end polio. They will return on Friday in time to participate in the annual Rotary District Conference which will be held at Club Sapphire Merimbula, Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13.
The group has more riders joining as they rev up around the wide area covered by the Rotary district which includes the ACT, coastal clubs from Nowra southwards, Yass, Tumut, Batlow, Cooma and Tumbarumba.
Bringing an end to polio has been one of Rotary’s international concerns and the organisation works with the World Health Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise funds and channel the money to help eradicate the disease.
President of Pambula Rotary Club, Rex Koerbin said: “The target to end polio worldwide is so close but if you drop the ball at the end, you’ll never get rid of it. If we can keep the awareness up then it’s achievable.”
President of Merimbula Rotary Club, Graeme Skinner agreed and said: “We are so close to totally eradicating polio in the world. This is not about shaking the tin but raising awareness. There are many people under 30 who would have little idea about this disease.”
While it has largely been eradicated in the western world, there still remain pockets of the virus in some African countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Recent vaccination programs have been hampered by religious, political and tribal issues in some of these countries.
The bike ride to end polio was a prelude to the district conference which will see around 400 Rotarians and their guests come to Merimbula.
The annual conference will include a number of keynote speakers including seven time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, Merimbula-based Disabled Winter Sports Australia representative, Ron Finneran, peace scholar, Charles Allen and Merimbula’s very own local hero, and round the world solo pilot, Ryan Campbell.
With such a well-known pilot and a new runway at Merimbula, it’s hardly surprising that a group of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians have chosen to fly in for the conference.
It is expected that four Cessna 182s, two Piper Warriors, a Beechcraft Bonanza, Cirrus SR22 and a Piper Seneca twin aircraft will arrive on Friday afternoon, the fly-in organiser Mike McFarlane said.
“It is fitting that the IFFR members will have the opportunity to catch up with our own international Teen World Flight pilot Ryan Campbell over the weekend after his solo around the world flight,” Mike said.