Campaign for AIDS memorial in London
by Jessica Geen
8 December 2010, 3:35pm
Campaigners are calling for an AIDS memorial to be created in London to remember those who have died from the disease. Unlike Brighton, Manchester and many western capitals, London does not have a permanent memorial despite its high number of AIDS deaths.
The London AIDS Memorial Campaign says that there should be a space and marker in the capital to remember those who have died. Patrick Lyster-Todd, who is leading the campaign, told PinkNews.co.uk: “A memorial would stand as a testament to all the efforts, sacrifices and tears of those who have fought against the disease.
“Uniquely, among many western countries, we, the capital city, who played a lead role in the fightback against HIV and AIDS, do not really have an AIDS memorial.
“There is a small chapel in Southwark Cathedral co-dedicated to AIDS victims but that has a religious connotation.” Mr Lyster-Todd said that any memorial would require geographical space – such as a park or garden – plus a physical presence. He added that it would be fully inclusive: “We’re at great pains to say that it is not just a gay memorial – it is for all those who have been affected.”
The group hopes that the memorial can be paid for by public subscription and with the help of corporate sponsorship, although Mr Lyster-Todd was adamant that funds should not be diverted from groups and sources which support people living with HIV and AIDS.
He said a public consultation would be held on what shape the memorial could take and a competition would be open to designers. As yet, the group has had informal talks with a number of bodies about where a memorial could be placed. Mr Lyster-Todd said an analysis had been carried out to identity a number of possible locations. He also hinted that the campaign hopes to secure some high-profile supporters.
“We are aware that had she not been killed, Princess Diana may well have helped us,” he said. “Sadly, she is not currently with us but it is possible that one of her sons could be prepared to support us in future.”
The London AIDS Memorial Campaign plans to find a way of recording the names of AIDS victims on the memorial and says that it would be linked to a website and education campaign. For now, it intends to continue gathering support in order to put forward proposals in the future.
To support the campaign, visit the London AIDS Memorial Campaign website or Facebook group.