PEOPLE have been working hard to add a splash of colour and paint Bicester purple to help fight back against polio.

Bicester Rotary club joined the national campaign to support the End Polio Now campaign Purple4Polio and have been planting purple crocuses, adding to 60,000 corms planted across North Oxfordshire.

In Bicester, the buds are blooming and are well on the way to cheering up neighbourhoods and raising awareness of the fight.

Polio is a crippling, and sometimes fatal, disease mainly affecting children in parts of Africa and Asia.

Rotary spokeswoman Liz Yardley said: "The Bicester response to these purple gems has already been amazing, with lots of complements from local residents on social media channels.

"Since 1985 Rotary has led the battle against polio, and kept the pressure on as worldwide cases plummeted from 350,000 per year to only 37 in 2016.

"When India went off the list of endemic countries in 2012, we took one more step toward eradicating a human disease from the earth for only the second time in history."

The campaign in Bicester has seen crocuses planted in several areas including on the Buckingham Road roundabout which were planted in October.

The Bicester Rotary group were joined by community groups and sixth formers from The Cooper School.

Cherwell District Council sponsored the campaign by funding more than 60,000 corms.

The sea of bright purple is now starting to break through in Bicester and right across the Thames Valley where Rotarians have planted a mammoth 340,000 corms.

The purple flower they produce will symbolise the dye used to mark a child’s little finger once they have been immunised against polio.

It is a crippling, and sometimes fatal, disease mainly affecting children in parts of Africa and Asia.

Ms Yardley added: "Its been a long haul, with Rotarians in the Philippines first initiating a global vaccination programme as far back as 1979. Poor sanitation and health care, religious misunderstanding and zones of conflict are a real challenge to eradication, but are being vigorously addressed. Failure is not an option.

"Polio will surely surge back with a vengeance if we take our foot off the pedal now. There is no cure for polio, only prevention through vaccination. "As long as any one child in the world is affected by polio, children everywhere are at risk."

Other areas taking part in the End Polio Now campaign and going purple is Banbury, Kidlington, Faringdon, Witney, Didcot and Chipping Norton.