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Statue to honour Sussex-based inventor of skin grafting technique
7:50am Saturday 12th January 2013 in News
A statue dedicated to world famous plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe is to be installed in the town where he carried out his pioneering work.
Campaigners want to place the 9ft bronze in High Street, East Grinstead, in a tribute to its most famous adopted son.
The bronze is being designed by sculptor Martin Jennings, whose father was treated by Sir Archibald at Queen Victoria Hospital during the Second World War.
The installation will cost at least £160,000 and a fundraising campaign will be launched shortly by the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation.
The foundation is a research charity created by Sir Archibald, who died in 1960, and is based in the grounds of the hospital.
Sir Archibald and East Grinstead became widely known during the war when he treated many badly burnt airmen at the hospital using pioneering techniques to help them.
East Grinstead became “the town that didn’t stare” as its residents made sure the recovering airmen, who became known as the Guinea Pig Club, were not made to feel uncomfortable as they visited.
The patients, now in their 80s and 90s, were regularly seen around the town attending dances, drinking in pubs and watching films.
Mr Jennings, from Oxford, was keen to be involved because of his personal connection.
During the war his father was a tank commander and was burnt in a fierce battle but he made a successful recovery after being treated in East Grinstead.
Jacquie Pinney, the chief executive of the foundation, said: “It was a sheer coincidence.
“We approached Mr Jennings because we liked his work. The personal link surprised all of us but it does make us think that this is really meant to be.
“We want to have something in the town that recognises and honours Sir Archibald.
“We have already had a lot of support from people in the town and a lot of interest from around the world.
“We have a long way to go with the campaign but it will be worth it.”
Many of the techniques Sir Archibald developed are still used today to save the lives of burns patients.
His most well known innovation was skin grafting – removing dead skin and replacing it with skin taken from other parts of the patient’s body.
He also recognised the importance of dealing with the psychological effects of burns on patients.
To find out more about the project and to support the campaign visit www.blondmcindoe.org.
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