A donation from the UNISON health union has helped the fundraising campaign to install a stature of Crimean war nurse Mary Seacole in the gardens of St Thomas' Hospital
Two years ago a design by Martin Jennings was chosen following a public competition. Since then fundraising to turn the proposal into reality has slowly reached the £100,000 mark.
"UNISON is very proud to be helping to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Mary Seacole," says UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis.
"130 years after she died, Mary's compassion and courage are truly inspiring – and should be marked for hundreds of years to come. A statue of her, near the museum of Florence Nightingale, would finally give her the recognition she deserves.
"It cannot be right that of all the black people who have made a huge contribution to the UK, only one is marked with a statue. Recognising Mary's achievements would be a small step in the right direction."
Lord Soley, chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, added: "UNISON's generous grant has taken us past the landmark £100,000.
"So many of our contributions have come from small donations – nurses, schools, community groups and others that for UNISON to cap it with their donation is a real boost to the appeal.
"This will be the first memorial to a named black woman in Britain and recognition of the courage and commitment of Mary Seacole and of nurses everywhere. I would like to thank the members of UNISON for their generosity and their commitment to this project."