Belfast Castle Lights Up for Polio Awareness

The historic building goes green alongside other UK landmarks in support of those who have suffered from the condition

The British Polio Fellowship has announced Belfast Castle will be illuminated in the charity’s green colour to raise awareness of PPS Day on October 20. With PPS Day getting underway at Stormont this year together with the Northern Ireland Polio Fellowship (NIPF), the day aims to educate the public on a condition which affects 120,000 people in the UK alone.

Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80% of those who have had Polio, and for which there is no specific cure. Only seven per cent of the public have heard of it, and changing that is the central aim of the day.

The British Polio Fellowship’s visit to Northern Ireland marks the third stage in a tour which has also taken in London and the Houses of Parliament in 2014, and Cardiff and the Welsh Assembly in 2015. An event which started out as a handful of intrepid volunteers in Winchester, PPS Day and The British Polio Fellowship have now toured three out of the UK’s four major political centres.

Belfast Castle joins several other national structures lighting up to mark the day, including Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge, Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower and many more.

Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, said: 'We’re delighted to be coming to Belfast for PPS Day 2016. The people of Belfast always offer us a warm welcome and I can’t wait to get this year’s PPS Day going at such an iconic location. 

'Attending Stormont for the official opening will be great for raising the profile of PPS, and I’m also really grateful to everyone at Belfast Castle for their efforts in helping us light the historical and highly recognised monument up. It will also be a great moment to meet our friends at the NIPF and help them raise awareness of PPS in Ireland.'

As the journey from Winchester to Stormont, via Westminster and Cardiffshows, PPS Day has grown exponentially since it was first started. Last year, the British Polio Fellowship received a record-breaking 3,700 enquiries, and the aim this time around is to beat that figure.

Hill added: 'To have received 3,700 enquiries, was a great achievement but I think we can do even better! There are still many people living with PPS, who may not have been correctly diagnosed, or are unaware of the help available. We hope PPS Day will help us and the NIPF reach as many of these people as possible. Belfast Castle is an iconic landmark, and I am certain this, combined with events at Stormont will provide the ultimate boost to PPS Day 2016.'

To find out more about The British Polio Fellowship and to learn about the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome visit the charity’s website at www.britishpolio.org.uk.