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Mary Seacole Statue Appeal hits setback as construction costs rise by nearly £200k

The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal must renew its fundraising efforts after learning that construction costs have risen by £180,000. 

Plans to site a statue to commemorate celebrated Crimean war nurse Mary Seacole have hit a major setback after construction costs rose by £180,000. 

Mary Seacole statue

The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal was due to unveil the statue in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital in London next month but has now delayed until next year. 

A total of £480,000 has already been raised for the ten-foot bronze statue, but the appeal’s chair Lord Soley told Nursing Standard he has learned the costs associated with placing the statue in the hospital grounds have soared. 

Lord Soley said: ‘I know this delay will be a great disappointment to many of our contributors but I can assure you that I will do all I can to ensure that the delay is kept to a minimum.’

The appeal group is also considering creating a memorial garden for nurses killed in conflict zones, which would be linked to the memory of Ms Seacole. 

Labour peer Lord Soley has talked to the army about the garden plan, which could include named garden areas or seats with name plaques on them to remember nurses who have been killed in war zones. 

No decision on the garden’s location or whether it will contain the statue has yet been made. 

RCN head of nursing practice JP Nolan said the college’s defence nursing forum would welcome the garden. 

He said: 'It is vital that we remember the sacrifice and courage of all nurses who served in conflict zones – past and contemporary.

'The RCN are particularly mindful that many of our currently accepted practices developed from the efforts of these nurses practicing in the most austere environments.

'The RCN defence nursing forum welcome any acknowledgement of the courage and commitment shown by these individuals.'

The Ministry of Defence has not yet been able to provide a comment.  

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