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Headley Court COVID-19 Rehabilitation Centre named after Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole Trust Chair, Trevor Sterling, has welcomed the naming of the first Seacole rehabilitation centre to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The official opening of the NHS Seacole Centre, Headley Court took place on Monday 4 May 2020, attended by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chief Nursing Officer for England Ruth May, MST Chair Trevor Sterling, MST Vice Chair Lisa Rodrigues CBE and MST Ambassador Dr Habib Naqvi MBE.

Mr Sterling, who had the prestigious role of unveiling the centre, comments:

“The coronavirus is the biggest challenge to our country and our population in living memory. It is great that Mary Seacole, famous for battling disease and pioneering community rehabilitation, is being recognised in our country’s response to the virus.

Naming the new facility at Headley Court the “NHS Seacole Centre” symbolises the contribution made by so many nurses and other healthcare workers, from so many different backgrounds and from all over the world, who make up our wonderful NHS.

We thank all healthcare staff for their amazing contribution to our communities.”

The decision was also welcomed by Dr Habib Naqvi MBE, Ambassador for the Mary Seacole Trust and deputy director of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard, who stated:

Dr Habib Navqi MBE – MST Ambassador

“We are living through the biggest challenge to our country and our population in living memory. Over 150 years ago, the pioneering British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole faced similar challenges.

During the Crimean War, Mary set up community-based quarters for primary healthcare, for the treatment and rehabilitation of the sick and wounded. Mary was renowned for delivering hands on, holistic care across a variety of settings.

Rehabilitation is absolutely critical to the success of our NHS’ COVID19 response, and Headley Court has been established as a rehabilitation centre to support the needs of people during, and after, this challenging time.

It is absolutely fitting that this centre is now named the Seacole Centre – reflecting the values of good citizenship, community service, and inclusion, that defined Mary Seacole.”

Mary Seacole’s inspiring story will soon be brought to life in a film by UK based production company, Racing Green Pictures. The film stars UK actress Gugu Mbatha Raw who recently starred in ‘Misbehaviour’. Opposite Gugu, Sam Worthington of Avatar fame plays Thomas her wayward partner who assists her through the journey.

Billy Peterson, owner of Racing Green Pictures says, “Mary Seacole is the perfect example of the stories we aim to produce for the big and small screen. This true, socially impactful, humanitarian film about a strong woman of colour persevering against all odds is exactly what today’s theatre going audiences are thirsting for. 

“This film will help include and strengthen Mary Seacole’s story in curriculums in addition to shining a light on the importance of nurses and healthcare workers around the world.

“Mary’s life story is not only unfathomable for the time she was living in, it is an instantaneous, universally relevant and an historically accurate portrait of a healthcare heroine who put her life on the line to save others during disaster.”

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