KIND pupils at a Gourock school were proud to be purple to support World Polio Day.

The P7 class at St Ninian's Primary had their pinkies dipped in dye to represent the vaccination programme carried out by Rotary International to eradicate the crippling disease worldwide.

Youngsters learned about the highly contagious condition that causes paralysis and even death and discovered how simple mouth drops can save and change the lives of children abroad.

Allan Robertson, president of Gourock Rotary, said: "For the last 30 years Rotary International has been trying to eradicate polio.

"It has dropped from 1,000 polio cases in 125 countries down to double figures today.

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation triple the donations raised to help the programme.

"We want to make Polio the second disease to be eradicated after smallpox.

"There has to be less than 10 cases worldwide before it is officially classed as eradicated.

"Polio can have devastating effects.

"It still exists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"People there can still get the virus, which can cause disabilities and in turn they are stigmatised."

Health workers administer mouth drops in the still-affected countries and once children are vaccinated their pinkies are painted, so they know they have been immunised.

St Ninian's pupil Anna McNeil, 11, said: "It was good to find out the campaign and about polio, and how people are affected by it.

"It's very viral.

"It only takes one person to get it and then lots of people can get it.

"We are lucky in this country that we get free drops - some people in Afghanistan and Pakistan might not be able to afford it and polio can affect their whole families."

Fellow classmate Reuben Ahlfeld, also 11, added: "I didn't even know what polio was or the impact it is having in different countries.

"The Rotary Club is helping to stop people getting polio all over the world."

Mr Robertson has presented a special certificate to the pupils for supporting the campaign.