Touched by our Black History Month inspirational individuals campaign, Fyling Hall Trustee, Rebecca Mansoor, nee Maxfield, shares her inspirational individual. Mrs. Mansoor attended Fyling Hall School 1996-2002 during which time she served as a Head Student. She read English Literature and History at Durham, now works as a Clinical Audit Manager for NHS Digital (National Diabetes Audit) and has been on Fyling Hall’s governing body since 2016.
October is Black History Month, during which the contributions of black people to the history of the UK are recognised and remembered. One such person was Mary Seacole, someone whose life and achievements have inspired and affected my own career. I actually first heard about Mary Seacole from an African American student at Fyling Hall and, many years later, completed the Mary Seacole NHS Leadership Development Programme.
Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica in 1805 but travelled extensively, including trips to England where she learnt about the practice of European medicine. She nursed patients in Panama and Jamaica, treating severe outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever. In London, she applied to work in the Crimea but experienced racial prejudice and was rejected. Undeterred, she funded her own travel and set up a front line war hospital where she was frequently in great personal danger. She was, however, largely lost to history, especially in the shadow of the work of the (white, British) Florence Nightingale.
I work for NHS Digital’s clinical audit team; although I don’t treat patients directly, the audit I manage collects data about the care given to over three million people with diabetes. In doing so, it helps raise standards and improves clinical outcomes for patients. The Mary Seacole Programme taught me that everyone working in the NHS has a responsibility to contribute to a compassionate culture – something that Mary Seacole championed in her own work. She was extremely brave and tackled challenges head on – useful lessons for people following in her footsteps.