On Tuesday, we marked International Women’s Day by unveiling Karen Lyon’s sculpture of Dr Erinma Bell DL MBE at Manchester Cathedral.
The event, hosted by Dean Rogers Govender, attended by community leaders, artists, and social activists was a great gathering and celebration of community cohesion.
Tony Lloyd, GM Police Commissioner and Interim Lord Mayor of Manchester took the opportunity to publicly thank Erinma, and praise her for all her efforts campaigning for peace and positive change, as he unveiled the portrait bust.
Artist Karen Lyons detailed the process of making the sculpture, and the symbolic nature of the work, and Professor Paul Haywood took to the stage to talk about the ambitions of the GUNS TO GOODS project.
Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police told of his pleasure to attend and celebrate the work of a peace champion, stressing the significance of the sculpture, made of gunmetal from 50 seized illegal shotguns and the need for communities to work closely with the police to highlight life chances outside of crime.
Erinma, humbled by the recognition, thanked all those that had contributed to the journey, and said that she hoped that the sculpture would be inspirational to all communities.
Proceedings were punctuated by poetry readings from Shirley May and Anthonia Saani, Vice Chair of Nigerian Women’s Group)
The sculpture will be on display until Tuesday 31 May 2016, in Manchester Cathedral’s Regiment Chapel.