Channel 4’s It’s A Sin has inspired generations of Birmingham’s LGBT community to kick start a fundraising campaign for a memorial to the people the city lost during the AIDS pandemic.
The venture started as a social media post while everyone was abuzz about the Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin, which documented the lives of a group of gay friends living through AIDS when it first emerged in the 1980s.
That small idea has since grown to have a Facebook Group of its own with over 450 members since it was created on January 28.
They want to raise £300k for the memorial in Southside.
Designer on the project Darren Hodgson said: “I’ve been an active member of the Birmingham Gay Community for 30 years and have always helped when I can.
“I helped with the very first Birmingham Gay Pride with recording studio time and then many of the Gay Fundraising Balls and events over the years.
“When Garry Jones posted about his idea to create a memorial I naturally offered to help in any way they needed.
“I think this is a great opportunity to bring the community together again for a great cause that’s helping ensure those lost to this disease are not forgotten.”
Taking the lead on the project is Garry Jones and Phil Oldershaw, two men who made it through the pandemic unscathed – but said they watched as faces disappeared from Birmingham’s Gay Village.
The pair hope to raise around £300,000 for the memorial and many virtual events are being set up to help raise the cash – including a Back to the 80s drag show that will be streamed by The Fox Pub in Southside on February 28.
Phil Oldershaw said: “The campaign for the memorial has quickly built momentum from the community, authorities and potential sponsors.
“It is tax-deductible and we are seeing enquiries from many corporates who want to be a part of this project to help make a difference. HIV & AIDS has affected many over the years, and continues to be a virus that doesn’t discriminate.
“Corporate and social responsibility is key to getting the message home. We are looking at fundraising and sponsorship from all communities.
“The business and corporate areas can really help us achieve the hundreds of thousands of pounds required to make something memorable and distinguished as a landmark with our city of Birmingham.
“If anybody reading wants to get involved personally, or as a company, then please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
To get involved with fundraising for the memorial, visit the Friends of the Birmingham HIV & AIDS Memorial Facebook Group.
It’s A Sin is available to stream on All 4.