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Nurses Day celebrated in Westminster Abbey


Thousands of nurses once again celebrated International Nurses Day this year at the annual service to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale in Westminster Abbey.

The service on Wednesday 9 May was attended by nurses, midwives and wide range of people with links to the professions.

Florence Nightingale scholar Claire Gibbs carried the lamp, which was escorted this year by student nurses from Liverpool John Moores University. Ms Gibbs is a senior research nurse based at James Paget University Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust. 

The nurses’ roll of honour – which records the names of British nurses who have died in conflict since the start of World War II – was carried by Sergeant Sarah Leonie Perkins, from Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service. She was escorted by three matrons-in-chief from the armed forces.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who has strong family ties to the nursing profession, gave the main address.

Health minister and former nurse Anne Milton also attended the service.


Readers' comments (6)

  • How do you get invited to this I have worked in the NHS as a nurse and Sister for 50 years and have just recently retired and have never had the opportunity to attend this wonderful event

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  • It is attended by nurses/midwives past and present, from public, private, voluntary sector and armed services. Definitely worth going. You might be able to visit the Nurses chapel inside the abbey with a bit of luck.
    You can apply for free tickets to the Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey from the Foundation's website, apply next year before mid-March as tickets go very quickly:
    Some students have the opportunity to attend for the Students Day, ending with this commemoration service. I think its 1 nursing/midwifery student per university in UK can attend nominated by a faculty staff at their university.
    Last year, I think they still had some of the flora from the Royal Wedding, before moving them onto new homes.

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  • I have been to the event once when I was a Student Nurse, all nurses should have a chance to go. Trusts should be more pro active re this event.

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  • Thanks Andy for information Ill apply next year you never know I may be lucky.
    Nigel we never got a chance to go in the trust where I worked it was always management that went. Seemed very unfair when you'de worked for NHS twice as long as they had

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  • there is little point in rcn sending an e-mail on saturday morning informing nurses of nurses day after the event! The first i heard of it was in the form a video from RCN this morning with an almost inarticulate message from a woman who is supposed to be the chief of the rcn called Andrea Spyropoulos. why is there a greek at the head of the rcn?

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  • I went once for the whole day event, then twice more for the service in the evening with friends. Could not attend this year. Best to queue up about 30mins before gates open. For tickets, keep an eye on the Foundations website from January, you can then apply by email when available. I wasn't paying attention to publicity but did think it was advertised early in the year. But direct weblink is here now, good luck for apps next year.

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