About the memorial appeal



The Memorial Appeal

A small committee has set themselves the task of commissioning a permanent memorial in London, and raising the funds for it. Its members are former and present leaders of the humanitarian sector and bereaved family members, with the support of humanitarian aid charities, Westminster Abbey, The London South Bank, the Coin Street Community Builders, the Contemporary Arts Society, and the Department for International Development.

The memorial will cost £300,000, to commission the work, construct and install it, and guarantee its maintenance. Humanitarian aid charities themselves are contributing a third of the money, in recognition of their lost staff and volunteers, and as a commitment to celebrating the ideals of humanity as an inspiration for the future.

The Steering Committee is seeking significant contributions from those individuals and bodies, committed friends of the humanitarian aid community equally passionate about the values and service of humanitarianism, who also believe in the importance of this Memorial, and feel moved and able to help make it happen.

The Location

For two years, we humanitarian aid workers have been remembered at an annual service at Westminster Abbey, marking World Humanitarian Aid Day, each 19th August, attended by families, friends and colleagues, aid agency representatives and dignitaries.

A site for a permanent memorial needed to be somewhere prominent, with space for reflection and reflecting humanitarian principles, appropriate to remember all humanitarians, of all nationalities and faiths.

The Committee has identified the Bernie Spain Gardens on London’s popular pedestrianised South Bank, and have the support of the social enterprise Coin St Community Builders who manage the gardens, to locate the Memorial there. Situated between Oxo Tower Wharf and Gabriel’s Wharf, the Gardens provide an oasis of green along the Jubilee Walk and a space both for relaxing and for public events.

The memorial is intended as a permanent site for remembrance and celebration, a touchstone for visitors, friends and relatives and a place that helps build awareness of the largely untold story of humanitarian aid workers. The memorial site is publically accessible throughout the year. It is intended that there will continue to be an annual remembrance event on World Humanitarian Aid Day.

The Memorial Design

The Steering Committee have appointed the Contemporary Art Society in London to manage the commissioning of a world renowned artist, who meets a number of criteria required for this sensitive and important project. The chosen artist will share the passion of the cause held by the humanitarian community and will be able to express that through a fitting sculpural art work.

We are close to a final decision on the artist. The Contemporary Arts Society will then work closely with them on both the design and material issues, including a period of considerable research and investigation for the artist where they will meet with bereaved friend and family members, and witness humanitarian work first-hand in a crisis zone.

The artist will work to create artwork that thoughtfully encapsulates the themes of humanitarian aid work, rather than a memorial in the traditional sense.

We hope and believe the site will become a place of resonance and reflection and the memorial will have a gravitational force that will bring the living role of the humanitarian worker to the fore, and inspire passing visitors with their example and humanitarian values of those friends and colleagues that we have lost.

At the heart of the memorial is a celebration of lives well lived, and lives that encapsulate the best of humanitarian tradition and principles – humanity, independence and impartiality.

Steering Committee Membership

  • Dame Barbara Stocking (Chair) - President of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and former Chief Executive of Oxfam GB
  • Sir Brendan Gormley - Former Chief Executive, Disasters Emergency Committee
  • Sir John Holmes - Director, The Ditchley Foundation, and former UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
  • Harbinder Kaur - ‎Director of People & Organisational Development , Care International UK
  • Dr Elaine Laycock MBE GP - Medical Director of SOS Bosnia
  • Gareth Owen OBE - Humanitarian Director, Save the Children
  • Dr Sara Pantuliano - Director of Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute
  • Saleh Saeed OBE - Chief Executive, Disasters Emergency Committee, and former Chief Executive of Islamic Relief Worldwide
  • Matthew Sherrington - ‎Charity Consultant, Trustee, Mines Advisory Group
  • Canon Jane Sinclair - Canon Steward of the Westminster Abbey
  • Sir Nick Young (Vice Chair) - Former Chief Executive, British Red Cross