March 12 2014 Latest news:
Monday, January 13, 2014
An online petition has been launched calling for Norfolk wartime heroine Edith Cavell to be commemorated on a new £2 coin.
More than 30,000 people have already signed up to the campaign, which was launched after the announcement that former war secretary Lord Kitchener would feature on a coin.
The petition was started by Sheffield City Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, who said: “Lord Kitchener represents all that I have always loathed about the First World War – the jingoism, the sheer waste of men, the ‘lions led by donkeys’ mentality.
“And then I thought of Edith Cavell, a heroine of my early childhood. The woman who is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers in Brussels from all sides without distinction.
“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.”
A Royal Mint spokesman said future designs would include other figures connected with the First World War, but could not confirm or deny whether Cavell would be among them.
Cavell, a vicar’s daughter, was born at Swardeston, near Norwich, in 1865.
The Swardeston-born nurse helped about 200 soldiers escape from occupied Belgium during the First World War, a selfless display of duty which led to her execution by a German firing squad on October 12, 1915.
Thousands of people lined the city’s streets for her funeral procession before she was buried at Norwich Cathedral.
The petition has won support from the charity set up in her honour.
The Cavell Nurses’ Trust, based in Worcestershire, was born out of the public subscription which followed Edith Cavell’s death, and today supports nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals in need.
The trust’s 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.”
The petition can be found by following the link at the top right of this page.