Wakefield College is paying homage to a little-known historical figure by renaming its Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre building. The newly named Mary Seacole Building, based at the College’s City Campus and home to the University Centre at Wakefield College (UCW), recently saw new external signage unveiled to mark the new name.

As part of the College’s Black History Month celebrations in October, the Student Union ran a competition asking students to come up with a list of famous black people and reasons why they should be recognised. Numerous names, both past and present, were put forward including the likes of Marcus Rashford and Nelson Mandela.

Following an extensive judging process, the submission of Mary Seacole from IT student Callum Holt was chosen as the winner. Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican nurse born in 1805 and is best known for tirelessly helping hundreds of patients during major wars and epidemics during the 19th century.

Commenting on the reasons why he chose Mary Seacole, Callum said: “The reason I think she should be chosen is that regardless of the disgusting racism she faced, even when trying to help others, she looked past race and kept her passion for British troops and used her own money to create comfort for them, and never referenced their race or her own at any point. She did this all for no profit, and her strong moral character deserves to be remembered and venerated as an example to all.”

Wakefield College Principal, Sam Wright said: “Mary Seacole is an amazing historical figure and extraordinary role model that continues to inspire to this very day. Her lifelong dedication to looking after others despite the difficulties she faced, is something we should all celebrate. I’m delighted we are recognising her legacy today.”