Garry Jones is an artist living and working in Birmingham. He studied theatre design at the University of Central England, graduating BA (Hons) in 1997. In 1999 he was invited to deliver the first Birmingham Pride workshops and parade. He subsequently set up his own company “Off our Trolley Carnival and Community Arts” in 2003 and since then has worked successfully on projects across all art forms. He was project coordinator for World AIDS Day, Birmingham from 2009 to 2015.
After watching ‘It’s A Sin,’ written by Russell T Davies, on Channel 4 television in early 2021, Garry was taken back to when he was 21 in 1981. This was the time of the arrival of the AIDS pandemic, and the memories got him thinking that there was nothing in his home city of Birmingham by which we can remember those ‘we have loved and lost’ to this terrible disease.
Garry posted on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in forming a group to make one happen. The response was incredible, and the Birmingham AIDS and HIV Memorial campaign was born.
Garry got together with Birmingham Pride co-founder Phil Oldershaw, and owner of The Fox pub, Andy King, to form a fundraising group to gain traction and see this through. This campaign built incredible momentum with support from Birmingham City Council, The Public Art Gateway Group (PAGG), Southside BID, numerous LGBTQ+, and other businesses coming onboard. The campaign quickly partnered with Saving Lives – we were delighted to offer all the support and resources of a registered charity.
“The Ribbons,” as the memorial came to be known, were unveiled on December 1st, 2022 – an amazing achievement for Garry and his team, which shows just what can be done with passion and co-operation.