The campaign to restore a memorial to Winston Churchill has taken a huge step forward by winning support for a bid the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Dudley MP Ian Austin kicked off the campaign to restore or recreate the centrepiece of the famous stained glass tribute to Britain’s war-time leader to teach a new generation of Dudley youngsters about Winston Churchill’s contribution to securing Britain’s liberty and fighting for democracy.
The original memorial consisted of 17 panels and stretched across the Churchill Precinct. It was designed by world-renowned artist Edward Bainbridge Copnall and unveiled in 1969 but removed after damage caused by weather and vandalism.
Austin has brought together a team which has met the Heritage Lottery Fund to discuss their project and have just won council backing to put together a bid for £100,000 to fund the project.
The team includes community arts project Artspace which is based in the Churchill Shopping Centre, Dudley Council leisure boss Councillor Hilary Bills, council officers and the Borough Artist Steve Field who will draw up the bid. Dudley Council finance boss Councillor Stuart Turner has backed the project with the fund needed to put the bid together.
Ian Austin said:
“This is a really serious piece of work and we’ve spent a lot of time getting to this stage. This is an important historical memorial and putting together a bid to HLF requires technical expertise which is why we have spent so much time on it.
“I’m really grateful to Tina Oliva and the other members of our team and to Councilor Turner, Steve Field and John Millar for their support and advice.
“I’m also really pleased we’re able to make this announcement to coincide with this weekend’s anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death 50 years ago.
“Everyone who grew up in Dudley will remember the magnificent memorial to Winston Churchill. I saw it so many times as a child and will never forget the impact they had, making me understand how he inspired the British people not just to fight for Britain’s liberty and the values of democracy, freedom, fairness and tolerance that define our country and make Britain the greatest place in the world.”
Tina Oliva from Artspace said:
“Art is at the core of our community project work and so we are delighted to be part of the campaign to restore such a key, influential piece of Dudley’s art heritage and history back to its former glory.”