Edith Cavell (2nd row from the front, centre) at the nurse training school she ran in Brussels around 1912 (courtesy of Heritage Lottery Fund)

£92,000 UK lottery grant announced for project remembering Edith Cavell

Posted on centenarynews.com on 13 October 2014
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The story of the executed First World War Nurse, Edith Cavell, is to be told with the help of a grant of almost £92,000 from the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund. 

It's been awarded to the Cavell Nurses' Trust, a charity originating from a public appeal in 1917 to help nurses "shattered mentally and physically" by the war.

Today's announcement comes a day after the 99th anniversary of Edith Cavell's execution by a German firing squad on October 12th 1915.

The Trust says it will help raise public awareness of its work providing welfare assistance and scholarship support to nurses all around the UK, with a particular emphasis on Norfolk, the county in Eastern England where Cavell was born.

Edith Cavell was nursing in occupied Brussels when she was condemned to death by a court martial  for helping more than 200 Allied soldiers to escape to the neutral Netherlands.

The Cavell Nurses' Trust project will explore and share the many stories surrounding her life and death; the use of her execution as propaganda to drive Allied recruitment; the ceremonial repatriation of her body to the UK in 1919; her work in Belgium during the war; and her role as a key figure in the professionalisation of nursing in the early 20th century. 

Edith Cavell's last words, inscribed on her memorial near Trafalgar Square in London

Even before her death, Edith Cavell had become known for treating  all soldiers as equals, regardless of nationality.

Spanning 18 months, local people and volunteers in the East of England, West Midlands and London will take part in a variety of activities exploring her legacy.

Events will include guided walks and heritage trails, as well as a number of exhibitions across the UK.

Research and activities from the project will also feed into a dedicated website which will include images, newsreels and audio memories of descendants of those helped by Cavell.  

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, says Edith Cavell continues to be a global inspiration: "The Centenary of the First World War provides a moment not only to explore the incredible bravery she demonstrated in order to help others but also her outstanding professional achievements and the legacy she has left for modern day nursing.” 

Accompanying the grant of £91,900 to the Cavell Nurses' Trust is news that the British Government has promised up to £50,000 towards restoring Edith Cavell's grave in Norwich Cathedral.

The nurse's body was returned to Norfolk for burial in 1919 after a memorial service at Westminister Abbey.

Today's announcements mark the latest tributes to Edith Cavell. Following an online campaign, Britain announced in July 2014 that she'd be commemorated on a £5 First World War Centenary coin.  

Information & images supplied by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News