CHESTER MP Chris Matheson and paralympian Ade Adepitan MBE, as well as nine other cross-party parliamentarians and UK polio survivors, have featured in a film for World Polio Day.

They have united to celebrate Africa’s wild polio-free certification, and to pledge support for the global effort to wipe out the disease completely.

The group, all champions of the One Last Push campaign, remind people that ‘we can’t drop the ball’ on the fight for eradication.

The film is inspired by Ade's role as a professional basketball player.

This August, Africa was certified wild poliovirus free. This landmark achievement was made possible by global collaboration and the unwavering dedication of thousands of people on the ground working tirelessly to ensure every last child receives the vaccine.

The UK has played a leading role in this remarkable progress – last November, the UK Government pledged to vaccinate 400 million children a year until 2023 against polio.

Mr Matheson is an advocate for polio eradication and a champion of the One Last Push campaign.

He said: "Polio eradication efforts have seen cases reduced from 350,000 in 1988 to just under 300 so far this year globally.

"But following a year of challenges, including paused vaccination drives in endemic countries in response to Covid-19, now, more than ever, it is vital we keep up the support to wipe it out for good.

Adedoyin ‘Ade’ Adepitan MBE is well-known as a BBC television presenter and wheelchair basketball player.

As well as being a TV presenter and Paralympic medalist, Ade is a committed advocate for polio eradication in supporting the One Last Push campaign and as a Rotarian.

He contracted polio in Nigeria when he was just 15 months old, causing partial paralysis in his right leg and complete paralysis in his left.

He said: "This is the first year I’ll be commemorating World Polio Day where both of my homes, the UK and Nigeria, are completely free of polio.

"When I contracted polio in the 1970s, there were hundreds of thousands of cases of polio globally.

"This year, Nigeria, along with the entire continent of Africa, was declared wild polio-free. This is a remarkable achievement and shows the power of what can be achieved through global commitment and collaboration."

Polio survivor Andy Gilliland, who also features in the film, has spent his life campaigning for people to have access to vaccination against polio, in the UK and around the world.

He contracted the disease in 1959, aged just four years old, during an epidemic in Liverpool, and was paralysed from the waist down.

He said: "We mustn’t be complacent. Many have forgotten what happened here in Liverpool and the rest of the UK in the 1950s, when people like me contracted polio in outbreaks up and down the country.

"While the world is currently fighting a global pandemic, it reminds us how important it is to protect ourselves from diseases like polio, for which there is a vaccine.

"I wouldn’t want another child, anywhere in the world, to go through what I’ve been through. So it’s great to see all of us come together to help create awareness of this important issue.’