By Debbie le Quesne

MP’s campaign to bring ‘reminiscence therapy’ landmark back to life

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The old stained glass mural in Dudley

The old stained glass mural in Dudley

We all know how important memory signposts are for forgetful elderly people and those suffering from dementia.

So I was thrilled to hear that Dudley MP Ian Austin is championing a campaign to bring one of the most notable landmarks in Dudley back to life.

A campaign has been started to restore a huge glass memorial to Winston Churchill in Dudley town centre.

A stained glass tribute to former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, originally unveiled in 1969, once had pride of place in the town’s Churchill Precinct.

But the ravages of time, vandalism, weather and general economic decay took its toll and the 17 stained glass panels were taken down in the early 1990s.

Dudley MP Ian Austin said in the regional Press he was aiming for it to be restored for 2015 to mark 50 years since Churchill’s death.

The glass panels on the memorial, designed by artist Edward Bainbridge Copnall, have been stored at Himley Hall ever since they were taken down.

Mr Austin added that new techniques developed in the past few decades meant the problems that “dogged the mural first time round can be overcome”.

He said he was hoping to work with local experts, council officials and Dudley’s residents to find ways to restore the memorial, which stood over the town’s Churchill Precinct, and find funding for the project.

Significantly, he said: “No-one who grew up in Dudley could forget the magnificent memorial to Winston Churchill.

“I can’t remember the number of times I stood under the panels but I’ll never forget the impact they had on me. The memorial made me understand how Churchill inspired the British people not just to fight Britain’s liberty, but for the world’s freedom too.”

It’s understood that the local authority would be assessing the condition of the glass and would speak to Mr Austin about possibilities of restoral.

Any type of memory loss can be distressing and having such a huge signpost to aid the memory of some of Dudley’s elderly would be wonderful.

Reminiscence therapy uses life histories to spark conversations, linked-in memories and interaction.

Everyone reminisces and for older people memories mean more. Like all parts of our bodies, the brain needs to keep functioning to the optimum level it is capable of and reaching into a person’s long-term memory will help achieve that goal.

I wish Mr Austin well with his project. The mural would serve as a wonderful therapy prop for both Dudley and the great Sir Winston’s leadership of the British people during the Second World War.


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