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A reader sent me a screenshot of an article in this week's Metro, headed: "Cleaner called Winston rids Churchill statue of vandals' 'racism' graffiti". Wonderful headline - I'd have loved to have written that! Looking at the picture though reminded me of how I felt upon learning that there's been a far higher percentage of UK BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) Covid-related deaths than one would initially expect: that this is because they're often involved in frontline work - much of it underpaid & often largely unappreciated. And while I'm on the subject, in dozens of visits to various hospitals with several family members over the past 10 years, I can't recall us having been looked after by a consultant, doctor or nurse who's not been part of this group, so yes - frontline in that sector too.
Our weekly claps for the NHS have in some way shown our appreciation for our nurses, doctors and consultants, so let's appreciate for a moment the important job this present-day Winston is doing to keep his namesake as well as many other monuments and historic buildings pristine...
Winston Churchill's statue overlooking Westminster Palace in London's Parliament Square - daubed with graffiti during recent Black Lives Matter protests, has been saved on many occasions thanks to the skills of 59-year old Winston, who’s worked for conservation specialist DBR since 2006. Winston, (who still doesn't want to reveal his surname) and his colleagues use steam and a mixture of mild chemicals to clean graffiti and other mess from statues and building facades and as we in this industry know, the work requires specialist skills that most of us don't have, to avoid the risk of causing permanent damage.
Governments all over the world are talking about the 'new norm'. I'm hoping that the new norm (when we find out what it really entails) includes a huge and ongoing appreciation for the fabulous work Winston and others like him are doing.
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11th June 2020