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Courtney Pine joins Mary Seacole campaign

Jazz legend Courtney Pine is an ambassador for the Seacole statue appeal

The legendary jazz musician Courtney Pine has joined the campaign to erect a bronze statue of Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole facing parliament.

Pine is to become an ambassador for the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal. He joins other ambassadors Tim Campbell, the Apprentice winner and entrepreneur, and Arsenal and England winger Theo Walcott, whose mother is a midwife.

The news comes as the statue campaign approaches big names in music industry to perform at a fundraising concert at the 02 Shepherds Bush Empire later this year.

Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, a spokesperson for the appeal, said they were determined to raise the additional £300,000 needed to make the statue a reality.

Facebook Group

Sculpture Martin Jennings won the competition to make the 10-foot high sculpture of Seacole after being chosen a high-quality shortlist by a panel led by Baroness Valerie Amos, now the Australian High Commissioner.

St Thomas’s hospital, on the Thames, have donated a high-profile site for the statue, directly facing the Houses of Parliament, which will be lit at night. The committee will shortly be applying for planning permission from Lambeth Council.

Anionwu, a professor of nursing, said she was delighted that Pine had joined their campaign. ‘It raises our profile to have such an eminent and internationally-recognised ambassador publicly linking themselves with the appeal.’

She encouraged people to join the Facebook Group Campaign for greater awareness and appropriate recognition of Mary Seacole to support the appeal and to be kept informed of developments.

An article in the Independent highlighted how much money the statue appeal still have to raise, but Prof Anionwu is undaunted. She said: ‘We’ve got this far and we don’t intend to give up. We are going in the right direction.’

Winchester College recently uncovered an actual photograph of Mary Seacole that has not been widely seen before. The image is being used in a jigsaw with funds going to the statue appeal.

Last week the FT carried an interview with Small Island author Andrea Levy who named Seacole as her heroine.

By Lester Holloway

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