Westminster Abbey Commemorates the Life of Florence Nightingale

A Service to Commemorate the Life of Florence Nightingale was held at Westminster Abbey at 6.30pm on Wednesday 11th May 2016.

The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, attended.

The service is held annually to celebrate nursing and midwifery and all staff, both qualified and unqualified, working in these services.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: 'Welcome to Westminster Abbey, which has seen so many occasions of joy and sorrow and remembrance. We come into the presence of almighty God to offer our worship, praise, and thanksgiving. In particular, we thank God for Florence Nightingale: for her enterprise and heroism, and for the example she has left us.

'We pray that her ideals of compassion, quality of care, and training may continue to inspire and sustain nurses everywhere. We praise God for all those nurses who, like her, have carried the lamp of healing into the dark places of our world.

'Let us prepare to hear and receive God's holy word and to bring before God the needs of our world. Let us remember with pride the vocation we have each received, and prepare to dedicate ourselves anew to the service of all in need.'

The Address was given by the Baroness Emerton of Tunbridge Wells DBE DL, President of The Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Professor Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales and Nurse Director of Wales, read Isaiah 42: 5-9, and Cecilia Anim, President of the Royal College of Nursing, read 1 St Peter 3: 8-12a.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by: Professor Elizabeth Robb, Chief Executive, the Florence Nightingale Foundation; Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality at the Department of Health; Lavinia Wallop MBE; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence.

The service included the Procession of the Roll of Honour, borne in silence, which was carried by Naval Nurse (Student) Hannah Phillimore, Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, escorted by the three Matrons-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

The Florence Nightingale Lamp was carried through the Abbey by Tracey Wrench, Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholar, and escorted by student nurses and midwives from Northumbria University.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, conducted by the Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist. The organ was played by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.

© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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