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October 2016 - Lest we forget

The UK AIDS Memorial Quilt is a unique piece of social history. It tells the stories of 380 people who were lost to the early HIV AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s and 90’s. As part of marking World Aids Day 2016, a selection of the quilt panels will be on display at St Paul’s Cathedral, and in a variety of community venues across London between 23rd November and 4th December. This will be the first public display of the panels in the UK since the 1990s.

With your help and support this event will raise awareness of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt and help secure its conservation.

The project to commemorate the lives of people who died during the epidemic began in the United States in 1987 and the beautiful memorial panels were created all over the world. There are some very moving and powerful images of the quilt panels on display during that time that serve to remind us of the immense impact of the loss of lives, and the importance of remembering those who have died as a result of HIV and AIDS (images here). Anyone who saw the panels on display in the US or in the UK will have a clear memory of their power not just as an act of remembrance, but as a symbol of protest at the tragic loss of lives.

Today, a coalition of charities is working together to try to find a permanent home for the UK quilt and to ensure its preservation. I am proud that The Food Chain is part of this collaboration. I have personal memories of the quilt panels that were lovingly created at London Lighthouse when I worked there during the 1990s, and one of the individual memorials hangs opposite my desk in our City Rd office. It’s a daily reminder of a good friend and colleague, and an enduring source of motivation for our work.

This year the quilts will be exhibited in St Paul’s Cathedral on 23rd November, both to remember those lives lost, and also to raise awareness of the epidemic to younger generations.  

If you would like to be a part of this event, we need a team of volunteers to be on-site in a variety of venues where the quilt panels will be displayed on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December 2016.

 

What does the role involve?

  • Talking to members of the public about the history of the Quilt and the purpose of the partnership

  • Distributing information leaflets and answering any questions people may have

  • Collecting contact details from anyone who wishes to stay in touch with the work of the partnership

  • Presenting  the 'public face' of the partnership at this first event, and encouraging awareness and support for the project to the general public

The work will be organised in shifts of 3 hrs and volunteers may sign up for more than one shift if you wish to. Travel expenses will be reimbursed. Volunteers will be provided with training and a detailed briefing ahead of the event.

If you would like to be involved, or to know more about the work of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership, please do contact me on 02078431800 or by email siobhan.lanigan@foodchain.org.uk