Hitchin church’s Great Black Britons exhibition targeted by vandals

PUBLISHED: 13:14 28 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:19 28 October 2020

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

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An exhibition outside a Hitchin church celebrating the contribution of Great Black Britons has been defaced by vandals.

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward SelbyAn exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

Christchurch in Bedford Road displayed the pictures of inspirational Black people from Lewis Hamilton to Sir Lenny Henry.

However, between Friday and Saturday last week, the posters – which are displayed along the railings of the church – were sprayed over with black paint.

The exhibition was part of the Great Black Britons campaign which ran over the summer. Member of the church, Edward Selby got in touch with the organisation and asked if they could display the posters.

Minister at Chirstchurch, Val Reid, told the Comet: “About two or three weeks ago somebody scratched or keyed them, and somebody has now sprayed black paint over them.

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward SelbyAn exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

“We have been talking about what to do and obviously we are appalled that this has happened. Whoever has done it has done it out of a place of feeling excluded. It’s a cry for help.

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“We celebrate the contributions Great Black Britons have made in our community, and we try to welcome and include everyone. Even those who have defaced our posters, come talk to us and we will listen.

“We are sad this has happened – it was part of the response to Black Lives Matter. We stand alongside our Black brothers and sisters. For too long we have ignored your contributions.”

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward SelbyAn exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

The exhibition includes Marcus Rashford MBE, Lenny Henry CBE, Lewis Hamilton MBE, Nicola Adams OBE and Clara Amfo alongside 18 other notable Black members of our communities.

Some of the plaques have been cleaned, but those that can’t be cleaned will be replaced.

North Herts District Councillor, Sam Collins, who represents Hitchin Highbury said: “This was clearly not mindless vandalism but a deliberate attempt to cover the faces of inspirational Black people.

“It is so sad to see that someone in Hitchin felt the need to do this, and I feel sorry for that person, I hope that Christchurch will come back with something bigger and better in future and I hope I can help them deliver that.

An exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward SelbyAn exhibition celebrating Great Black Britons at Christchurch in Hitchin has been vandalised. Picture: Edward Selby

“As NHDC’s only Black councillor it really hurts to see this in the ward I represent, but that just drives me forward more, I’m already working with some community groups on a larger project on raising the profile of the positive contribution black people have made to British society both locally and nationally, now I really want to help make it big and bold.”


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