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Churchill sculpture sparks uproar.

A Mental Health Charity has defended a statue it commissioned of Sir Winston Churchill in a straitjacket.

The statue has been criticised as "absurd and pathetic" by his grandson, Tory MP Nicholas Soames.

Charity Rethink commissioned the 9ft high sculpture, unveiled in Norwich, to highlight the stigma of mental health.

Rethink said the image of Churchill - who suffered bouts of depression - was designed to "portray a more positive image of people with mental illness".

"The message we want to portray is that it is possible to recover from mental illness and overcome it and be successful - because Churchill is an example of someone who was able to do that.

"We are not intending to undermine Churchill or denigrate the efforts of anyone involved in the Second World War in any way whatsoever.

Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said while he could understand the reasons for putting up the statue, he disagreed with the portrayal of Churchill.

"It does highlight the fact that even the most famous individuals, the most iconic, are human, do suffer from human frailties ... and I think it is quite right that that does not diminish him, it heightens his achievements," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"What I would question is whether his depression was ever really a straitjacket for him," he added.

According to the Rethink website they intended to exhibit the statue in Trafalgar Square in 2004 but were refused permission.  It has been "on the road" on temporary display ever since and will be in Norwich until March.

I think it has a certain appropriateness to our situation now.  That if Churchill was trying to speak to us today on the current dangers we face, his hands would be tied, he would be impeded and handicapped, and those in authority would deride him as mad and unbalanced.

 

Rethink speak more wisely than they realise.

Churchill 'straitjacket' statue