THE first purple blooms are beginning to appear all over Banbury as the organisers of the 'Purple4Polio' campaign gear up for two huge fundraising concerts.

The town's two Rotary Clubs planted almost 50,000 crocus corms across the town this year, adding to 25,000 planted over the previous three.

On Tuesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 9 children from Banbury schools will raise their voices at Crocus Concerts fundraising event to help beat polio for good.

Polio is a potentially crippling and deadly infectious disease that still occurs in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, where cash to continue vaccinations is needed.

Project organiser Fred Riches said: "The purple crocus petal mirrors the dye marked on the finger of each child being vaccinated.

"We hope that everyone seeing a purple crocus this spring will be reminded of the link with polio and people will come along to the Crocus Concerts."

The Rotary Clubs have advised people wanting to spot crocuses to walk from Bridge Street Park along the canal towards Spiceball Park, then to St Mary's Churchyard.

Both concerts are taking place from 7pm in St Mary's Church.

Every £5 ticket is trebled in value by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and £15 is enough to vaccinate around 50 children.

To buy tickets visit