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The life and work of Florence Nightingale commemorated in annual celebration

Thursday, 9th May 2013

The life and work of Florence Nightingale commemorated in annual celebration

The Secretary of State for Health, The Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP, attended a Service to Commemorate the Life of Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 8 May 2013 at 6.30pm.

The service, which is held annually to celebrate nursing and midwifery and all staff, both qualified and unqualified working in these services, was attended by nurses, midwives and health visitors.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

…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.

The Address was given by Mark Bostridge, author of Florence Nightingale: The Woman and her Legend.

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS England, read Isaiah 65: 17 - 20; 66: 10-13 and Michael Roberts, Master, the Girdlers' Company, read St John 11: 1-6; 17-44.

Prayers were led by The Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by Professor Elizabeth Rob, Chief Executive, The Florence Nightingale Foundation; the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health; Bryan Sanderson, Chairman, The Florence Nightingale Foundation; and the Reverend Mark Burleigh, Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

During the service the British Commonwealth Nurses’ Roll of Honour was borne in silence from the Chapel of St George through the Nave to the Sacrarium by Petty Officer Bernadette Quinn, 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 by Florence Nightingale Scholar David Wright, and escorted by student nurses and midwives from Leicester De Montfort University. On arrival in the Sacrarium the Lamp was passed to Joanne McPeake, who passed it to Jennifer Tarver, to represent the transmission of knowledge. It was then placed on the High Altar by the Dean.

See also:

The Order of Service (PDF, 199KB)

The Address given by Mark Bostridge

Florence Nightingale Foundation website

The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.

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Tim - Gardener

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