On Wednesday 7th September the Salisbury Civic Society and Salisbury Soroptimists unveiled a blue plaque to Dr Marina Seabright at the Old Salisbury Infirmary on Fisherton Street.
Mayor of Salisbury, Atiqul Hoque, and Dame Rosemary Spencer, Patron of the Civic Society, did the honours and unveiled the plaque. Guests included former colleagues of Dr Seabright who came from far and wide to honour her memory.
President of Salisbury Soroptimists, Jenny Hair, recalled working with Dr Seabright when she was a young HR executive. Marina had not wanted to follow rules and procedure but urged Jenny to find a way to get what she wanted to happen. It was later heard from John Harvey that his rapid promotion may have been one of those issues!
The invited guests were welcomed into the community lounge of Pembroke House for refreshments and a presentation about Dr Seabright. Dr Christine Waterman, Consultant Clinical Scientist of Wessex Genomics Laboratory Service at Salisbury District Hospital, told the audience about Dr Seabright's career and how she had set up the Genomics Laboratory. Many of those who worked under Dr Seabright went on to lead other laboratories around the country.
Although small in stature, Marina was a larger-than-life personality, with a strong European accent, who did not necessarily follow the rules, smoked strong cigarettes and loved gossip. Nick Dennis told us about his career under Marina and her summing up of him: “not a bad chap, just needs a kick up the backside occasionally!”. He thought she was fairly accurate!
John Harvey also spoke about his career move from Porton Down to Salisbury Genomics Department. Marina nurtured and trusted him and was happy for him to prove himself beyond his designated grade. Under her guidance many breakthroughs in genetics took place, including work on Fragile X, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.
Before retiring in 1987, Dr Seabright ensured the future success of the laboratory by appointing Dr Pat Jacobs, another well qualified women, to take on her role.
From left to right: Anne Gardiner, Annette Cockwell, Sarah Mould, Maggie Fitchett, John Harvey, Nick Dennis, Morag Collinson (former colleagues of Dr Seabright)