Weston to host AIDS Memorial Quilt in first exhibition outside London in 15 years

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed at the Winter Gardens in the first week of May. 

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed at the Winter Gardens in the first week of May. - Credit: UK AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership

Weston will host an exhibition for world-famous UK AIDS Memorial Quilt next week, in the first display outside of London since 2007.

In partnership with North Somerset LGBT Forum, the quilt will be displayed for a limited time at the Winter Gardens from Monday (May 2) until Thursday (May 5). Admission is free. 

The quilt is a giant commemorative fabric which dedicates the lives of people who died during the AIDS pandemic. Each panel is woven by friends, families and their loved ones.

There are a number of quilts worldwide. The UK Memorial Quilt comprises of 48 panels, each 13 square metres large, with each panel made up of eight smaller ones. Each panel is around four metres squared. 

A number of charities have helped to manage the quilt under the name UK AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership.

The partnership describes the quilt as 'an emotive and irreplaceable piece of British social history which tells the stories of many of those lost in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s'.

For several years the iconic quilt has been kept in storage at Acorn House in London, without proper conservation the partnership says it is in danger of deteriorating and being lost forever. 

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From Monday, it will be the first time in more than 15 years the commemorative piece will be open to the public outside of the capital.

A spokesperson for the group said: "With each panel we hope to raise awareness of AIDS and the support available in North Somerset, as well as commemorate those who lost their lives during the AIDS pandemic.

"This will be the biggest public display of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt since 2007. It will also show us how far we have come in treating the disease and how those diagnosed are able to live normal lives.

"The morning will be informal, with a short introduction and first look at the quilts.

"QR codes are part of the display, and these contain letters from the people who made the quilts and some are very personal. To listen to these we suggest you bring headphones to play them through your mobile device."

The Memorial Quilt exhibition will be hosted at the Winter Gardens Pavilion on Monday (May 2).

The programme of events will kick-off at 10.30am.