Three 15ft steel tree sculptures were unveiled outside Birmingham New Street station, in memory of those who died or were injured in the pub bombing atrocity 44 years ago in 1974.

The sculptures, designed and created by artist Anuradha Patel, each have 6 leaves inscribed with the names of those who died in the bombing. When the sun shines through the trees, victims’ names will be reflected onto the pavement below.

The campaign for the new memorial was led by Birmingham’s Irish communities and funded by Network Rail.

Birmingham Irish Association chief executive Maurice Malone said: “We wanted to create an inclusive and healing memorial that could reflect both the damage the pub bombings did to our city and also the hope we have for the future.”

The unveiling took place at 8.17 pm, the time the first bomb went off. It was attended by religious and civic leaders as well as more than 80 members for the victims’ families. With moving words and song, the ceremony drew many passers by to observe.

Archbishop Bernard Longley stood with Anglican Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart and said:

“November is for us very much the month of remembrance – and never more so than this year when we have recalled the centenary of the close of the First World War. 

“Every act of remembrance will inevitably cause each of us to think of our loved ones who are no longer here.

“For the relatives and friends of the twenty-one people who lost their lives – and for the more than two hundred who were injured physically and emotionally on 21st November 1974 - remembrance brings a heavy burden of loss and absence as well as the cherished and uplifting memories so necessary for healing and peace.

“Those responsible for the horror of that night intended to drive a deep wedge between the communities and cultures that find their home in our city.  The dignified witness of the families of those who died has inspired many others to work for peace and good relations across the diverse neighbourhoods of Birmingham.

“Tonight I recognise the determination of the Birmingham Irish Association to work with the victims’ families and with many others to provide a lasting and fitting memorial dedicated to those who died or were injured.

“As Roman Catholic Archbishop I am grateful to be able to stand alongside the Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop David Urquhart, and united with other faith leaders to witness to the friendships and shared vision that have enabled our faith communities to work with all people of good will for lasting peace in this great city.”

Together, Archbishop Bernard and Bishop David offered Cardinal John Henry Newman’s beautiful prayer for peace:

O Lord, support us all the day long,
until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.

Then in your mercy,
grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.