TWO stained glass windows have been created as a lasting tribute to a forgotten hero of West Kirby.
Edmund Dene Morel, who lived in the town in the early 1900s, was a shipping clerk turned journalist and socialist politician who led a campaign against slavery in the Congo.
While living in Wirral he took up the cause for people he had never met in a country he had never been to.
Before his death in 1924 he launched a newspaper dedicated to exposing atrocities in the Congo and spearheaded the Congo Reform Association, regarded as the first human rights movement of this century.
More than 50 people including the Bishop of Birkenhead and Morel’s granddaughter and great-grandson attended the installation last week of two stained glass windows dedicated to his memory at West Kirby Library.
They depict a map of Africa and glass hands and feet, representing the severing of limbs from those Congolese who failed to gather enough rubber for their ruler, King Leopold II of Belgium.
The memorial was funded by a Your Wirral grant to the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), the Duncan Society and fundraising through a Just Giving website.
WEA tutor Tina Read ran two courses and a public meeting about Morel and incorporated ideas from the events into the design.
She said: “His remarkable energy, and ability to draw people from all walks of life into his cause, saw him writing dozens of letters a day, pamphlets in English, French and German, packing out halls up and down the country where thousands would hear him speak.
“One letter of protest alone would be signed by 11 peers, 19 bishops, 76 members of parliament, the presidents of seven Chambers of Commerce, 13 editors of major newspapers, and every Lord Mayor in the country.”
West Kirby glass artist Robbie Macoy created the central panels and Tina Read made side panels with David Bibby, Martin Murphy and Claire Hughes at the ARK Project in Birkenhead.