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Berkshire Healthcare staff attend the 58th Florence Nightingale annual service

58th Florence Nightingale annual service

Berkshire Healthcare staff, Suzanne Materu and Emma Warrington, joined 2,000 other attendees at the 58th Florence Nightingale annual service last month, held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The event welcomed nurses and midwives from around the world, to celebrate Florence Nightingale’s life and to reflect on the difference nurses and midwives make every day to people’s lives, ensuring their work never goes unrecognised. Also in attendance were Maria Caulfield, MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, from the Department of Health and Social Care, and Andrew Gwynne, MP and Shadow Minister for Public Health, and the Lady Mayoress of London.

Florence Nightingale was known as ‘The Lady with The Lamp’ as she made her rounds at night tending to the soldiers wounded in the Crimean War. At the ceremony it is tradition that a lamp is carried through the cathedral, which is then placed on the altar to represent ‘the undying spirit of the service displayed by Florence Nightingale,’ demonstrated by nurses and midwives today. A procession follows, comprising of scholars of the Florence Nightingale Foundation and student nurses and midwives.

During the service, nurses and midwives were named in two Rolls of Honour. Firstly, the Covid-19 Pandemic Roll of Honour, introduced in 2022, dedicated to all nurses, midwives, nursing associates and health care support workers who provided care during the Covid-19 pandemic. The second, the Commonwealth Roll of Honour, introduced in 1965, which commemorates nurses who lost their lives on active service in the Second World War.

Guests also observed reflections, biddings and prayers read by Officers and friends of the Florence Nightingale Foundation. Following the service, a small reception, was hosted in the Chapter House.

 Berkshire Healthcare Clinical Team Lead Suzanne Materu said:

“On the day it was amazing seeing different nurses from all over the UK coming together to remember and support the work that was started by Florence Nightingale. The service and the procession of the lamp by the student nurses, made us pause and reflect on our service especially after the pandemic. The choice of songs and prayers was the highlight of the evening, as well as the word of thanks to the nurses for their commitment, care, and skills.”

Visit the Florence Nightingale Foundation website (opens in new window)