Locals divided over ‘Wall of Fame’ mural screaming ‘welcome to our white town’

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The new artwork in Driffield, East Yorkshire, was slammed as screaming “welcome to our white town” by critics. The ‘Wall of Fame’ mural, recently put up on Middle Road North, features well-known local business owners as a tribute to those affected by the Covid pandemic, but some are angry that it fails to depict a single ethnic minority person.

The mural has been installed to brighten up the area while construction work is underway. Decorative umbrellas and new hanging baskets have also been added in a bid to spruce up the town and attract more tourists.

According to HullLive, Driffield’s Mayor Matt Rogers said following its unveiling: “We knew the development would take some time and felt that this mural highlighting some of the well-known town centre business figures would add interest and hopefully attract more visitors and shoppers to Middle Street North.”

Residents took to social media to share their thoughts on the mural. BAME local Kerrie Woodhouse-Dove said, although she liked the idea, it could have been “a little more inclusive”. She wrote: “It just screams welcome to our white town, obviously being a minority is even more reinforced by this which is a shame really.”

Another woman replied: “So there is not a single person of colour in your town you would like to recognise? Driffield looks like such a diverse, welcoming place [facepalm emoji].”

And another asked why the mural did not feature BAME professional footballer turned boxer Curtis Woodhouse who was brought up in Driffield. She wrote: “He does so much for the kids in the community, yet he is not worthy of being on your ‘Wall of Fame’. Was he even asked if he wanted to be a part of it? Or doesn’t he fit into your nice little town?”

Many others came to the mural’s defence. One user wrote: “This looks brilliant, I would like to think this picture could have a more permanent fixture somewhere once the building work is done. Love how you have brought together the familiar faces of Driffield businesses and made something like this. I think it is really thoughtful and personal to our town.”

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Another echoed: “Looks great and was being much admired as I walked past.”

And a third added: “This is really brilliant.”

A spokesperson for Driffield Town Council said: “The panels depict images of a number of well-known personalities who either own or work in the shops and businesses based entirely in the town centre.

“Some are members of the Town Centre Steering Group and it was intended as a tribute to the independent businesses who have been ravaged by the pandemic.

“The whole idea of the panels was to provide an attractive temporary image whilst the new care home was constructed, to attract more people to this neglected area of town and provide a much needed boost to the businesses in Middle Street North.

“The people shown run businesses and shops in Middle Street North, Market Place and Middle Street South, also known as the Northern and Station Quarters.

“The Town Council and the Steering Group are working hard to support local businesses and this mural is an attempt to boost the town not to cause negative publicity.”

Additional reporting by Joseph Gerrard.

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