A memorial to honour those lost to AIDS and those living with HIV is set to be unveiled in Birmingham’s Hippodrome Square in a night of remembrance, education and celebration. The Birmingham AIDS and HIV Memorial (BAHM) will be officially unveiled on Thursday 1st December at 6pm in a special service to coincide with World AIDS Day.

The event in the new Hippodrome Square on Hurst Street will begin with an hour of entertainment, including performances by Chinatown Lions, SOTE School of Theatre Excellence, Rainbow Voices and Hawthorn Primary School Choir. A candle-lit remembrance procession (with costumes made by Birmingham City University’s fashion department) will then arrive in the square with a samba band and a selection of BAHM quilts from the Cover-Up Project led by the founders and the members of the Sew Marvellous group.

Speeches will be given by Designer and Founder of BAHM, Garry Jones, as well as his co-founders Phil Oldershaw and Andrew Bentley-King. Those in attendance will also be able to hear from Luke Perry, the fabricator of ‘Red Ribbons’, and Dr Steve Taylor of Saving Lives (BAHM’s charity partner), the Lead HIV Consulant at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital and Honourary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, before Rachel Greaves – the founder of HIV-support group, Positive Peers – reads a poem.

The Red Ribbons will then be officially unveiled at 6.45pm, followed by the laying of a wreath by the Right Worshipful Lord Mayor, a minutes silence and collective song led by the choirs.

Prior to the service, St Martin’s Church will also be hosting a multi-faith and non-denominational service at 4:30pm, which will feature a performance of an excerpt from The Nutcracker by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Principal Dancers, Brandon Lawrence and Celine Gittins.

Co-Founder of BAHM, Phil Oldershaw, commented:

This has been two years in the making and we hope as many people as possible attend to recognise and celebrate this monumental moment in history. A multi-faith service is being held at St Martin’s Church prior to the unveiling and we want everybody to feel connected in some way. The entire team have worked so hard and we appreciate every penny and ounce of energy received by the array of supporters in making this happen here in Birmingham. This is an incredible piece of art that will stand proud and tall, representing so many people in different ways. It’s finally here!”.

Almost two years in the making, the concept of the Birmingham AIDS and HIV Memorial came from local businessman and the designer of the monument, Garry Jones. Having lived with his own experience of the AIDS epidemic, Garry was inspired into action, with others, after watching the Channel 4 period drama ‘It’s a Sin’. From here, they set out to establish a dedicatory space in Birmingham to remember those lost to HIV.

Now, with support from co-founders, Andrew Bentley-King and Phil Oldershaw, and successful fundraising campaign to raise £210,000, the sculpture has been installed and is fully covered for the event.

The huge total for the project was reached, thanks to a host of businesses, charities and organisations from across the region and beyond who pledged their support, including the likes of Birmingham City Council, AirBnb, Galliard Apsley, McCourt Collaboration and Birmingham Pride.

Founder and Designer of the ‘Red Ribbons’, Garry Jones said:

I can’t believe that my vision has finally come to life. I am both nervous and excited that we have achieved something so meaningful to me, and to others. I want to thank everybody for their incredible help in making this happen. Please join us to remember and celebrate as we take off the cover and unveil the Red Ribbons on World AIDS Day 2022.”

The six-metre-high sculpture will feature two entwined red-ribbon hearts positioned to represent an ‘embrace’. As it weathers, one of the heart ribbons will begin to corrode and rust, representing the millions lost to HIV; meanwhile, the other will be painted red to symbolise those individuals currently living longer and healthier lives with the virus.

Those who are unable to attend the event in-person will be able to watch the live unveiling on BBC One at 6:45pm. For more information about the unveiling event and to learn more about the Birmingham AIDS and HIV Memorial, you can visit their website at:

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