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A Mary Seattle statue in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital, Londoncourtesy of Instagram/@womensmarchlondon

A campaign is calling for a historic BME figure on the new £50 note

The open letter is backed by over 200 public figures

More than 200 figures – including comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar and Sandi Toksvig, and social care enterprise chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale – have signed an open letter to The Sunday Times, calling for the Bank of England to grace their new £50 note with a historic figure from a black and minority ethnic background.

As the letter states, the inclusion of a BME figure on British currency would “reflect modern multicultural Britain”. Though ethnic minority communities represent 14 percent of Britain’s population, “no one from an ethnic minority has yet featured on a banknote”. Doing so would highlight the actions of such typically marginalised historic figures and act as a display of appreciation for their efforts.

Also, the letter adds: “We do not lack candidates, and arguably their achievements were the greater for having been made at a time when many careers were effectively closed to them, whether through colonial rules, racism, or the legacy of slavery.”

Nominations for who could appear on the new bank note have included Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim war heroine, and Mary Seacole, a Crimean War nurse. Public nominations for who should appear opened in November and close on Friday. Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, will reveal the final choice in 2019.