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ITV to air Mary Seacole documentary about pioneering statue


ITV WILL air a documentary about 19th century Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole, the first named black women to be honoured with a statue in the UK, this month.

In the Shadow of Mary Seacole, features David Harewood, star of Homeland and The Night Manager, on a very personal, three-year journey across Britain, Jamaica and Crimea following the creation of the statue, which is opposite the Houses of Parliament on London’s South Bank.

Sculptor Martin Jennings’ magnificent work includes a disc behind the statue which is based on images taken in the Crimea, on the site of Mary Seacole’s famous British Hotel where she supported and cared for servicemen during the war.

The total cost of creating the statue was funded through donations from thousands of individual supporters as well as several larger donors. Installation was funded by a government grant from banking fines.

Lord Soley, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, has welcomed the documentary, due to be shown on October 18, and praised those who supported the crowd-funding efforts.

UNVEILING: Mary Seacole statue in London

He said: “The statue is a wonderful example of crowdfunding, even before the term became popular! Diverse communities, including the military, trade unions, nurses, celebrities and thousands of individuals, came together to ensure that Mary Seacole is not forgotten.

“The film really brings Mary Seacole’s story to life and provides a fascinating insight into how the statue was created.”

The disc is 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 the sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.”

The statue’s unveiling marked the end of a 12-year campaign for MSMSA, but Mary’s legacy will continue when the charity becomes the Mary Seacole Trust on November 1.

MST Chair Trevor Sterling said: “The Trust will endeavour to educate the public and increase awareness of Mary Seacole, advancing her value as a role model in order to inspire and promote good citizenship, particularly with young people. We want to enhance recognition of achievers within public and private sector organisations, with the aim of promoting diversity in leadership and equality of outcomes. The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole continue and long may they do so.”

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