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TV documentary to tell story of Seacole statute

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A TV documentary, to be broadcast this week, will tell the story of nursing pioneer Mary Seacole and the long but ultimately successful struggle to have a statue erected in her memory in London.

The ITV programme will document the story of Crimean War heroine Mary Seacole and the campaign for the statue that was finally unveiled in London on 30 June after a 12-year campaign.

“The film really brings Mary Seacole’s story to life”

Lord Soley

The documentary, titled In the Shadow of Mary Seacole, is due to be screened on Tuesday 18 October, between 10.40pm and 11.40pm.

It features David Harewood, star of Homeland and The Night Manager, on a personal, three-year journey across Britain, Jamaica and Crimea following the creation of the statue.

The statue, the first to a named black woman in the UK, stands in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital, opposite the Houses of Parliament on London’s South Bank.

The cost of the statue was funded through donations from thousands of individual supporters as well as several larger donors, and ultimately a government grant from banking fines.

The final work includes statue and a disc behind it, which is based on images taken in the Crimea at the site of Mary Seacole’s famous “British Hotel”, where she supported and cared for servicemen.

Mary Seacole

TV documentary to tell Seacole statute story

David Harewood

Lord Soley, chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, welcomed the programme for drawing attention to the story of both the statue and the person it commemorates.

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

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

Following the erection of the statue, the charity is due to change its name on 1 November to the Mary Seacole Trust and change its focus towards raising awareness of its namesake’s work.

Its 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,” he added.

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