A nursing charity named after First World War heroine Edith Cavell is backing a campaign to have her name and face included on a new commemorative coin.
The Treasury will be issuing a new £2 coin featuring the face of Field Marshall Lord Kitchener – of “Wants You” army recruitment poster fame – to mark this
year’s centenary of the outbreak of World War I.
But a Labour councillor has started a campaign for the coin to feature Edith Cavell instead.
Sioned-Mair Richards, a Labour member of Sheffield City Council, started an online petition on 2 January. It had already attracted around 30,000 signatures by 12 January and had reached 40,000 just five days later on 17 January.
The petition calls on the Treasury to issue a coin with the face of Edith Cavell on it to “commemorate a woman who did her duty during the First World War, a duty not just to country but to all humankind”.
Ms Richards, 55, said: “The Lord Kitchener represents all that I have always loathed about the First World War – the jingoism, the sheer waste of men.
“Then I thought of Edith Cavell, a heroine of my early childhood. The nurse who was executed for giving succour to all wounded soldiers regardless of nationality,” she said.
“In the year in which we commemorate the First World War she should be honoured by her country as a woman who was one of the best,” she added.
The Royal Mint has apparently indicated that future designs will include other figures connected with the war, but it is not known whether Edith Cavell would be among them.
The Cavell Nurses’ Trust, known as NurseAid until October 2012, was created out of the public subscription that followed Edith Cavell’s death in October 1915. It supports nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals in need.
Trust chief executive Kate Tompkins said: “Edith Cavell nursed all wounded soldiers regardless of nationality saying to her nurses each man is a son, husband or father.
“As the charity set up in her name in 1917, just two years after her death, we are delighted with the support and recognition through the online petition of Edith’s work as a nurse and for helping the 200 Allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium.”
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