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Memorial sculpture honouring mesothelioma patients in the Armed Forces unveiled

A major stone sculpture honouring all serving and veteran members of the British Armed Forces with the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, has been unveiled. The memorial sculpture was installed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on 16 October 2023, joining more than 400 memorials dedicated to members of the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and civilian organisations.

The sculpture has been commissioned by Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, as part of its ‘Supporting our Armed Forces’ project. It has been funded by private donations and more details can be found here.

The memorial is made up of more than 60 carved stone blocks representing the building blocks of life and public service. The blocks form a tower which, although damaged, is supported above and below. The supporting blocks represent the support offered by the charity. Each stone block is engraved with information about the charity, mesothelioma, asbestos and the armed forces.

The sculpture weighs three tonnes and is three metres tall. The lettering and mesothelioma logo have been hand-carved from Clipsham Limestone. It has been produced by Leicestershire-based artist and sculptor, Graeme Mitcheson.

Graeme Mitcheson said: “It was an honour for me to be asked to design and create this important memorial which recognises those who have and are continuing to suffer from this awful disease. The sculpture is designed to be eye catching and informative, encouraging those who are unfamiliar with mesothelioma to read the inscriptions that have been carved and displaced on all four faces of the memorial sculpture.”

Military veteran and Mesothelioma UK supporter, Brian Wallis commented: “I’ve been involved with the charity since my dear wife, Rosemary sadly passed away with the disease. I was proud to support Mesothelioma UK’s Armed Forces campaign which was a specialist, UK-wide service for armed forces personnel and veterans who have been affected by mesothelioma. This memorial is a fitting tribute to all of these brave people.”

Liz Darlison, Chief Executive of Mesothelioma UK added: “Our Supporting our Armed Forces project is aimed at highlighting the stories of the Armed Forces personnel and veterans who are living with mesothelioma or who have sadly lost their lives to this deadly disease.

“We would like to thank all of the kind donors whose support has made all of this possible. We are delighted that the sculpture will have a permanent place at the nation’s year-round place to remember, the National Memorial Arboretum, from October and will honour the service of all Armed Forces members affected by this cancer.”

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