A campaign to restore a famous stained glass mosaic of Winston Churchill has “captured the imagination” of a Black Country town – including two residents with a special attachment to the piece.
Calls to return the memorial to its former glory and bring it back to Dudley were made last week by town MP Ian Austin.
And he today said the plan had received “huge support” from residents in the town who remembered the mosaic when it was displayed in the Churchill Precinct.
Among those backing the scheme include widow Phyllis Coyle, who has campaigned tirelessly to get recognition for soldiers who served on the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War.
Mrs Coyle lived above the Churchill Precinct for decades and was there on the day the memorial was first unveiled in 1969.
Her husband Mick, who served on the Arctic Convoys delivering vital supplies to Russia, was responsible for looking after the glass panels.
He was also part of the efforts to prevent it being taken down in the early-1990s.
Mrs Coyle, aged 84, of Derwent Close, Pensnett, said: “I lived above the precinct and it was a beautiful memorial. It would be great if we could get this memorial restored to remember Winston Churchill and what he did during the war. You do not want things like this to be shoved in a cupboard.”
She has been joined by Second World War veteran and British Legion leader Gordon Willetts.
Mr Willetts said restoration of the mosaic would be the perfect way to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston's death in 2015.
Mr Austin said: “The response since I launched the campaign has been overwhelming. Residents really want to see this happen.
“I am going to be speaking to the council to find out exactly what remains of the memorial and what state it is in.
“Then we are going to work with glass experts, local colleges and others to see how it can be restored and see where the tribute could go.”
Mr Austin has previously said he planned to talk with owners of the Churchill Precinct to see if the mosaic could be returned there.
If not, it could be displayed in one of the town’s museums or even a new development.
The 17-stained glass panels, which illustrated moments from the former Prime Minister’s life, were designed by world-renowned artist Edward Bainbridge Copnall. It was removed in 1991 after a series of vandal attacks.
The remaining panels of the mosaic were taken to Himley Hall and have been gathering dust in storage ever since.