A memorial plaque commissioned by the Mary Seacole Trust will be unveiled on Friday by Sir Hugh Taylor, Chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in an invitation-only ceremony at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Guests will include representatives from the defence medical services, nursing, local government, politics and the Jamaican High Commission, with a wreath laying by Chelsea Pensioners.
The plaque honours past and present healthcare workers who serve, or have served, in conflict and disaster-hit areas around the world. It is set in the Millennium Gardens of St Thomas’ Hospital on London’s South Bank, not far from the statue of Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole.
Trevor Sterling, Chair of the Mary Seacole Trust, explains:
‘The plaque is part of our commitment to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
When he was in office, Mr Osborne provided £240,000 from the Libor banking fines to secure installation of the Mary Seacole statue, the first to a named black woman in the UK, and to establish a memorial honouring healthcare workers who have put themselves at risk in order to care for people caught up in conflict and natural disasters. We are delighted that the memorial has found a home in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital where Mary Seacole’s statue is based.’
‘We are also delighted that it is in a place where there is such a strong connection to Florence Nightingale. Health workers, like Nightingale and Seacole, have, throughout history, provided the care people need in times of conflict and disaster. This is an opportunity to express our gratitude as a society for all the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, on our behalf.’