Posted on Wednesday 9 July 2014
Suzanne Packer unveiling plaque to mark the spot where a statue in memory of pioneering black nurse Mary Seacole is due to be placed next year
Casualty actress Suzanne Packer has unveiled a plaque to mark the spot at St Thomas’ Hospital where a statue in memory of pioneering black nurse Mary Seacole is due to be placed next year.
The unveiling today (Wednesday 9 July) was followed by a blessing of the site in the gardens outside St Thomas’ by Reverend Mia Hilborn, Head of Chaplaincy at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
Suzanne, who plays nurse Tess Bateman in the long-running TV series, says: “It connects with my life and makes me proud, particularly as a black woman in this country, to have such a powerful and courageous role model.
“I am honoured to be an Ambassador for the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal.”
Mary Seacole, who was born in Jamaica, is best known for her role as a nurse in the Crimean War - the 10 foot high bronze statue facing the Houses of Parliament will be the first official memorial to celebrate her legacy when it is in place in summer 2015.
It has been designed by the renowned sculptor Martin Jennings whose previous work includes the statue of Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras Station and a sculpture of the poet Philip Larkin in Hull.
Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’, adds: “Mary Seacole was a pioneer for the generations of nurses and other staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who have served the NHS so well over the years.
“She remains a positive role model for the current generation of nurses who help us to ensure that our workforce is representative of the diversity of the local population that we serve in south London and beyond.”
Lord Soley, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, says: “It has been an honour to chair this appeal and champion this remarkable woman.
“This statue to a brave, enterprising and caring woman will honour her and recall her memory and that of the British troops who she lovingly served.”
Find out more about the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, including how to make a donation to raise the £96,000 still needed to pay for the statue.