A MEMORIAL to murdered US president John F Kennedy has finally returned – after a decade in storage.
The JFK memorial mosaic was taken down from St Chad’s Circus where it had stood for 34 years in 2002 as part of a huge regeneration scheme.
The design is now taking pride of place on Digbeth High Street, near South and City College, and the city’s Irish community has greeted the unveiling with joy.
Following the President’s assassination in 1963, the Irish community commissioned Kenneth Budd to create the artwork – collecting £5,000 worth of donations.
Maurice Malone, the chief executive of the Irish in Birmingham charity, said the community had spent the last 11 years trying to bring back the JFK mosaic.
He said: “Irish people held him in high regard. Being the first Roman Catholic president won him a place in their hearts.
“When you’re driving in and out of the city you’ll be able to see it and we hope it will provide a visitor attraction.”
Teresa Pattinson, aged 88, who moved to Birmingham from Limerick, said: “It’s really wonderful for the Irish community to see it reinstated.
“Let’s hope that it’s left alone and people will learn from it the messages within this mosaic when they see the different nationalities.”
Kenneth died in 1985.
His work was faithfully recreated by his son Oliver, aged 52, who followed Kenneth’s original drawings.
It took Kenneth two years to complete all 11-and-a-half metres by three metres of the mosaic.
Oliver helped to unveil the piece and said: “Eleven years and 250,000 pieces of mosaic later – JFK’s back at last!”
Some members of the Irish community voiced concern at the addition to the mosaic of the late Coun Mike Nangle, the city’s first Ireland-born mayor.
His widow Margaret, who was also at the unveiling, said: “If he gets on I said I want him tucked away in a corner.
“Everybody has a right to their own opinions and thank heavens it’s a free world.”