After the 2012 dinner some of the descendants of the west bar Italians were approached and asked they would like to contribute money towards a plaque that would be dedicated to their ancestors. It was explained to them that if enough money was raised a scroll would also be drawn up of contributors and their Italian family name.
The plaque was to be displayed on St Vincent’s Church Solly Street.. This was the Church that had been used by generations of West Bar Italians for baptism and marriage ceremonies as well as everyday prayer and mass. It played a big part in shaping the community, helping the Italians to keep their faith and educate their children. (see the section titled St Vincent’s church)
Several months later after raising the funds needed the plaque was made and the scroll drawn up, all we needed now was a date. The date was set and invitations were sent out, an open invitation to attend was also made via an article placed in the local paper. The day of the plaque unveiling arrived. It was Thursday the 19th of september2013, a grey and rainy day in Sheffield but for a handful of people it was a very important day. A day of recognition for their ancestors contributions to the city.
The Catholic Club was decorated in red, white and green and the Italian flag was displayed in honour of the people we represented.
Shortly before 11am people made their way outside for the unveiling ceremony. We were introduced to our guest that would perform the unveiling. The Honorary Vice Consul Dr Valeria Passetti.
Huddled under a sea of umbrellas we stood and listened as Dr Passetti praised our efforts for what we had achieved for our ancestors. With a tug of the chord the curtain opened to reveal “The Plaque” .
A prayer was said by Father Walsh the Parish Priest and a blessing given for the plaque.
The plaque adorns the outside wall of the Church and now takes pride of place for all to see.
Light refreshments were served back at the Catholic Club.
The scroll containing the names of contributors and their Italian family name was available for viewing prior to being hung at St Vincent’s Church Crookes.
The Italian community spirit was evident once again as strangers exchanged comments and swapped stories revealing memories of their childhood and family life. Friendships were formed and family links were made.
As a group of people descended from a community of Italian immigrants we have shown that anything is possible. Smile and be proud of what has been achieved.