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Wednesday 24th August 2016
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Britain's First Memorial To Aid Workers Planned

Wednesday 13th August 2014

Britain’s first permanent memorial to aid workers who have died carrying out humanitarian works could be installed in Westminster Abbey.

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The campaign to have a permanent memorial installed at the abbey has been led by former aid worker Dr Elaine Laylock, and now, with the backing of charities and Westminster Abbey, it could be installed in the next couple of years.

The idea to establish a memorial came to Dr. Laylock over a decade ago after two aid workers she had worked with in Bosnia were killed. When their bodies were returned to the UK there was “No ceremony, no flags, no Union Jacks, just body bags”, and no national memorial where their work and lives could be honoured.

With World Humanitarian Day on August 19th, it is hoped that more attention will be focued on the risks faced by humanitarian workers, and highlight how many have lost their lives doing this vital work.

The scale of humanitarian work has grown signicifcantly in recent years, with estimates that there are now around a quarter of a million aid workers. The British government has pledged to use its current chairmanship of the UN Security Council to push the issue of safety for aid workers.

World Humanitarian Day next Tuesday will see representatives of the UN, British government and aid agencies take part in a wreath laying service in Westminster Abbey.