Big thank-you for a marvellous mosaic in Edgbaston

We want to say a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who’s been involved in creating a wonderful 45ft mosaic which has brought a splash of colour and joy to Edgbaston.

The bright mosaic which weaves its way round the outside of the Karis Health Centre in Waterworks Road is dedicated to all those in the emergency services and the Armed Forces, and in memory of some who are no longer with us.

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Each of the hundreds of flowers represents a lost loved one or is an emblem of one of the services, including poppies for the Army; while the blue sky, the blue line that runs along its entire length, is the symbol for West Midlands Police.

The project has been the brainchild of one of our most loyal local community activists Chris Hoare, who is chairman of the Birmingham Southwest Group and came up with the idea a decade ago.

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Fundraising started in earnest about three years ago with around £10,000 being raised from donations which have been made locally via word of mouth and thanks to the power of social media from as far afield as South Africa, Poland, China, Chicago in the US and Perth in Australia.

Last year children from schools around the area took part in workshops with the mosaic’s designer Jackie Nash to help create some of the hundreds of brightly-coloured flowers.

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It then took Chris and Jackie seven weeks to painstakingly install the mosaic by hand at the health centre, with the help of some police tape to ensure social distancing restrictions were adhered to.

Chris, aged 76, started working with WMP in the early 1990s, to help improve the area and give the community a sense of pride in the place which is their home.

Chris, whose work with WMP ranges from running clean-up projects to helping get CCTV cameras installed, said: "If it had not been for the police listening to us over the years, we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

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"So this mosaic is a thank-you to all those officers, over all those years, and it’s for all the emergency services - without them our communities would be finished."

After hearing about the project Chief Superintendent Steve Graham went down to take a look and met with Chris and Jackie, before the latest lockdown came into force. 

He said: “This is a truly beautiful piece of work. Not only is it a wonderfully uplifting sight for the community, but it has been created by so many in the very communities we all serve.

“While it has been put in place as a thank-you to us and to all our colleagues across the emergency services and the Forces, I would say thank you to Chris, Jackie and all those, both here in Edgbaston and beyond, for creating such a thoughtful and special tribute."

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As well as the main mosaic, a special smaller ‘NHS’ one was also created which has been given to Noor Pharmacy at the health centre as a tribute to their work making and distributing care packages to those in need during the first lockdown earlier this year. 

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