On Thursday 30th June, a new statue honouring heroine of the Crimean War, Mary Seacole, was unveiled in the garden of St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Astonishingly, it is the first statue in the UK dedicated to a named black woman.
The unveiling of the statue comes after 12 years of campaigning by the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal to raise the necessary funds for the iconic bronze statue created by renowned sculptor Martin Jennings. More than £500,000 was raised through donations from thousands of individual supporters as well as a number of 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.
Who is Mary Seacole?
Mary Seacole was named the ‘Greatest Black Briton’ in a 2004 poll. Originally from Jamaica, Mary Seacole’s support of British soldiers and sailors during the Crimean War is well documented. She was mentioned in dispatches where her contributions were praised and she was warmly described as ‘Mother Seacole’.
In 1857, the Times newspaper’s Crimean War Correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell wrote:
“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.”
PLMR are proud to support the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal.
Having been introduced to the appeal in 2015, PLMR is delighted to support the charity, providing pro-bono communications and media advice in the lead-up to and during the unveiling ceremony. Through PLMR’s support, the appeal achieved wide-spread media coverage across UK print and broadcast media, as well as in target international publications.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS
The unveiling served as a moment to celebrate the UK’s diversity. This was increasingly evident at the ceremony, where people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and walks of life (soldiers, nurses, politicians, journalists, lawyers) joined together to mark the important occasion – the unveiling of the UK’s first statue of a named black woman.
The Mary Seacole Trust.
Whilst the statue now stands proudly outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London, Mary’s supporters will continue to ensure her legacy is embraced throughout educational establishments and communities across the UK, through the newly established Mary Seacole Trust. We can’t wait to see what comes next!