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Major memorial to Italians who gave so much to Brum.

Byline: Mike Lockley Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

A MAJOR memorial to the Italian craftsmen and women who helped shape this city is set to be erected in East Park.

The monument is planned to be unveiled on July 2 next year - the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Arandora Star.

Part of the plinth will be a tribute to the disaster's Birmingham victims.

The ship, with 1,216 detainees on board - half of them Italian, was sunk by a U-boat torpedo as it travelled to internment camps in Canada. Only 586 survived the horror off the coast of Donegal and six of the victims were Birmingham-Italians.

Plans for the monument are being handled by help group The Friends of East Park. A competition will be held among Birmingham University students to come up with a design.

Pensioner Dorothy Bradbury, whose family, the Farinas, moved to Birmingham in the late 1800s, is the driving force behind the project and approached The Friends for help.

The 78-year-old, from Great Barr, said: "I can't believe it, I just can't take it in, but, to some extent, it's out of my hands now.

"Mosaics, clocks, mirrors and the railway - the Italians contributed so much and the mosaics they created can still be seen at public buildings."

Dorothy wants a raised plinth, with the top dedicated to local victims of the Andora Star. The bodies of the six Birmingham victims were never found.

"They have no grave," added Dorothy, "so, hopefully, this will provide closure for relatives."

The Friends are weighing a number of funding options for the memorial. They include Heritage Lottery cash, a series of fundraising events and approaching local businesses.

Chairman Simon Linford described the scheme as "exciting".

He said: "This is the kind of thing we are here for. It is what friends groups are there for.

"Although councils may get involved in something like this, it will never be a priority."

He added: "The idea is there will be a competition to design the memorial and BCU design students will be asked to take part."

CAPTION(S):

| Dorothy's family members |from top) Givvonie Farina, Marcus Farina, her mother Phyllis Farina, and Albert Farina

Dorothy Bradbury (above) and the family in 1914 (left to right) Albert Farina, Annie Farina, Ada Farina, Angelina Farina, Luigi Farina and Farina. In uniform is Luigi during World War II and the grave at Witton Cemetery where many of Dorothy's extended family are buried
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 10, 2014
Words:411
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