On Monday 9 June 2014, after 3 years of hard work and fundraising by the Steering Committee, Martin Jennings’ statue in memorial to Sir Archibald McIndoe, of Queen Victoria Hospital and Guinea Pigs fame, was unveiled by HRH the Princess Royal.
The ceremony, attended by an estimated 2000 people, was followed by drinks and refreshments at Chequer Mead Theatre, where there was an exhibition and a showing of the film “The Making of the McIndoe Memorial”.
The project was originally conceived by the East Grinstead Business Association (EGBA) and brought to fruition by a Steering Committee chaired by Stuart Scholes (CEO of the EGBA), Julie Holden (East Grinstead Town Clerk), Jacquie Pinney (CEO of the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation), Adonia Montford Bebb (daughter of Sir Archibald McIndoe) and Jane Woodman (volunteer to the project). The whole project was made possible by Dave Brown of Dormans Park (Chairman of DUARIS Ltd) whose financial support enabled each stage to be completed on schedule. Thanks to Cowen Architects, to Duaris Ltd for contributing all the groundwork necessary to install the statue and to sculptor Martin Jennings, whose creativity and drive were crucial.
Major donors to the project include Queen Victoria Hospital, the McIndoe Surgical Centre and over 350 individuals and local companies. The widespread support for the Memorial was shown by the amazing response to the Waitrose green token scheme. Since the launch of the fundraising appeal in April 2013 there have been a number of public consultations, displays in shop windows and talks to local groups with the aim of involving the whole town in the project.
So far the appeal has raised £183,500 but a further £66,500 is needed. Individuals and companies can make a donation to the appeal by visiting the website www.mcIndoememorial.com.
Nicholas Soames, MP, Chairman of the EGBA commented
‘At last the work of Sir Archibald McIndoe at the Queen Victoria Hospital during WW2 and the contribution made to the men’s rehabilitation by the good people of East Grinstead, the town that did not stare, has been recognised. Martin Jennings’s magnificent and inspiring creation is now in place for the entire world to see and to remember.‘
‘As Chairman of the EGBA I have been associated with this project from a very early stage. From the moment Stuart Scholes put forward his ideas I was enthusiastic and gave it my full support – my only question was, why has it not been done before? My congratulations go to all those involved in the project – The Steering Group, supporters and donors – well done East Grinstead.’
EGBA Chief Executive Stuart Scholes said
‘After three years planning and fundraising it’s marvelous to see the statue as a fitting tribute to a man who was not just a local hero but a national figure with his pioneering work in plastic surgery. We were honoured to have the Princess Royal to perform the ceremony and the tremendous turnout on the day underlines the huge public support for the memorial.’