Watch our video sharing some highlights of the unveiling ceremony.
The ceremony included video messages from Prince Charles, Michael Sheen and the songwriter, musician, and poet Labi Sifree. His song, ‘Something inside so strong’, was Betty’s favourite, and the inspiration behind the statue. The children of Betty’s school, Mount Stuart Primary, also gave a moving performance of the song during the ceremony.
Hugh James is proud to lend its support to the creation of a monument to Betty Campbell MBE, Wales’ first black headteacher and champion of equality and diversity.
The Top 100 UK law firm, which is headquartered in Cardiff, has funded the design and installation of the granite plinth which will hold, in pride of place, the statue – which is a first for Wales.
Betty Campbell’s work as an educator and community leader is recognised internationally. Under her leadership, Mount Stuart Primary School in Butetown became a beacon for best practice in equality and multicultural education throughout the UK. Betty Campbell also influenced Welsh life through a series of public appointments, serving as an independent councillor for Butetown, a board member for BBC Wales, a member of the Home Office’s race advisory committee and a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. She helped to create Black History Month and in 2003 was awarded an MBE for her services to education and community life. Nelson Mandela sought her out on his only visit to Wales.
Commenting on the initiative, Hugh James Managing Partner, Alun Jones, said today:
“It’s an honour for Hugh James to be supporting such an inspirational project, which celebrates some great Welsh women. As Wales’ first black headteacher, Betty Campbell was a real-life monumental woman and we look forward to seeing her iconic statue displayed for generations to come. It’s also fitting that this important piece of history takes pride of place in Cardiff’s transformed Central Square district – the new gateway to our vibrant and multicultural City.”
The bronze sculpture was commissioned following the Hidden Heroines campaign organised by Monumental Welsh Women, and broadcast on BBC Wales. Betty Campbell topped a public vote to decide who would be the first ever statue of a named, non-fictionalised woman in Wales. The four other women on the shortlist – Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda), Elaine Morgan, Elizabeth Andrews, and Sarah Jane Rees (Cranogwen) – will also be commemorated with statues over the next five years.
Helen Molyneux, founder of Monumental Welsh Women said:
“Our mission is to celebrate female ambition and success by commemorating the achievements of great Welsh Women – and to inspire the next generation of great Welsh women.
“We were thrilled when Betty Campbell was chosen by the Welsh public to be the first Welsh woman to be commemorated with a statue in Wales. Betty’s impact during her life was incredible, but, as with so many women throughout history, likely to be forgotten or overlooked by future generations unless something was done to bring her to people’s attention. The monument created by Eve Shepherd will certainly achieve that. It is a truly iconic, beautiful piece that will attract the world’s attention to Cardiff.”
The bronze statue will be unveiled at a special ceremony in Cardiff’s Central Square, in the heart of the Welsh capital. It has been designed and created by renowned figurative sculptor Eve Shepherd, who is known for her bold, beautiful, and powerful work.
Eve Shepherd, sculptor of the Betty Campbell Monument said:
“I have had the total privilege and honour to create a monument which is a celebration of inclusivity and diversity. I hope this sculpture is a fitting tribute to Cardiff and Tiger Bay, the richly diverse community in which Betty grew up in and loved. I aimed to continue through this monument, the education in which Betty felt so passionately about, especially black education. Finally, I hoped to pay homage to Betty, the precious and formidable woman, to allow her legacy and memory to live on.”