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AMG donates thousands to memorial statue appeal

Academy Music Group’s promoting division, Academy Events, has donated almost £8,000 to the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, writes Paul Watson

Academy Events, the promoting arm of Academy Music Group (AMG), has donated close to £8,000 to the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, which was raised from ticket and guest list donations from 2011’s Toots and The Maytals sold-out show at O2 Academy Brixton.

When a cholera epidemic struck during her trip to Panama in 1850, Jamaican-born Seacole single-handedly took over caring for the patients; and three years later, she looked after the victims of a yellow fever epidemic which broke out in Jamaica, prompting the British army to ask her to supervise nursing services at their headquarters in Kingston.

Following war breaking out in Crimea during 1853, she travelled to London to offer her services to nurse soldiers alongside Florence Nightingale at Scutari. Despite being discriminated against and rejected five times, she raised funds for her passage to the Crimea where in 1854 she set up the British Hotel, providing soldiers with accommodation, food and nursing care, as well as her work on the front line.

The tour visited seven O2 Academy venues across the UK in August and September 2011, promoted by Academy Events.

The money will be used to honour the Jamaican nurse whose commitment to treating soldiers during the Crimean war and patients of the cholera epidemic has gone relatively unnoticed since the turn of the 20th Century.

The donation was presented to Lord Soley, chairman of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, at the House of Lords last week. Once completed, it will be the first memorial in the UK to a named black woman and is proposed for a prestigious position: in front of St Thomas’ Hospital, facing the Houses of Parliament in London.

“I am very grateful to Academy Events and Academy Music Group for helping to raise funds for this Appeal,” Lord Soley says. “We need a total of £500,000, but have already raised over £100,000 – much of it from schools, nurses and army units. The Sculptor Martin Jennings FRBS is a world-renowned artist and this memorial will not only honour Mary but also become part of the famous South Bank complex.”

In acknowledgement of her courage and compassion during the war, Mary Seacole received four medals including the Crimean Medal and the Légion d’Honneur. She died in London in 1881 aged 76 and is buried in St Mary’s Roman Catholic cemetery, Kensal Green.

The O2 Academy Brixton was recently voted ‘Favourite Venue’ at the TPi Awards.