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Nurse, heroine, icon
Mary Seacole's courage and compassion as a nurse provided soldiers with food, nursing care and a morning dispensary during the 19th century Crimean war.
To capture the spirit of Mary, and remind the public of the importance of the nursing profession, a memorial statue is planned for the grounds of St. Thomas's hospital
Statue honouring Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole set to be unveiled
On Thursday 30 June, the statue honouring Mary Seacole will be unveiled in the garden of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament.
The date of the unveiling has been confirmed after 12 years of campaigning by the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal to raise the necessary funds for the bronze statue. Over £500,000 was raised through donations from thousands of individual supporters as well as several larger donors.
In November last year Chancellor George Osborne announced that £240,000 of LIBOR banking fines would be donated to the appeal to pay for the installation.
The statue, created by sculptor Martin Jennings, will honour the Jamaican-born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. It will be the first statue in the UK dedicated to a named black woman.
The work features a memorial disc at the back of the statue which will be inscribed with the words, written in 1857 by the Times newspaper's Crimean War Correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell:
'I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.'
Lord Clive Soley, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, commented:
“We are very grateful to everyone who has supported the statue, and to the many nurses, schools and army units who donated funds for the appeal. We would also like to thank the Chancellor who made this possible with a donation of £240,000 for the installation of the statue.
“The unveiling will be a truly memorable event, and after 12 years of campaigning, we look forward to finally granting Mary Seacole the acknowledgement she deserves for her selfless support of British soldiers.
“The statue will be a fantastic new landmark on the South Bank providing much needed recognition of the contribution black and ethnic minorities have made throughout British history and a celebration of the UK’s diversity.”
The unveiling will be held in an invitation-only ceremony attended by Trustees, Ambassadors and supporters of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, where a number of high-profile speakers will address attendees. There will be an opportunity for the general public to view the statue on Thursday June 30th from 2 to 5 pm and on July 1st from 9 to 5pm.
Following the statue unveiling, a new charity, the Mary Seacole Trust, will be established to ensure the legacy of Mary Seacole continues to be embraced throughout educational establishments and communities across the UK.
To read more about the story behind the statue design, please click HERE