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A Celebration of a Norfolk Christian Hero 

EdithCavellOn October 12-13 Swardeston will commemorate the life of its most famous resident and a hero of the Christian faith Edith Cavell with a weekend of events for all ages and a display of newly discovered memorabilia.  

Edith Cavell was born in Swardeston, four miles south west of Norwich, in December 1865 and grew up in the village untill she was 17 years old.  In 1915 after serving as a nurse and matron of a nursing school and hospital in Brussels she was executed for protecting and enabling around 200 Allied soldiers to escape to neutral territory.

On the weekend of October 12-13 St Marys Church, Swardeston where Edith Cavell attended and had the Sunday School Room built, will host a celebration of her life, courage and Christian faith.

Nick Miller, Chair of the 2013 Swardeston Cavell Festival Planning Group, said: “Edith Cavell’s steady gaze in the picture from St Mary’s church (top right) suggests a strength of character and resolve. This derived principally from her firm Christian faith, learned here in Swardeston, and sustaining her to her end. As a follower of Christ she knew her calling was to love her neighbour, if needs be laying down her life. She is said to have remarked “You must love all, not hate any”.”

The Festival weekend will include a guided walk around the village with a man who knew Edith Cavell and her family. There will be children’s activities, a flower festival, the showing of a DVD about her life, refreshments, stalls, music, and a memorabilia exhibition showing newly discovered pieces. 

On Sunday at 3pm there will be talks from Kate Tompkins, CEO of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust and Robert Tunmore, a direct descendant of one of the men whom she helped to freedom and who carried her coffin at her burial in Norwich cathedral in May 1919. The festival will close with a quiet service reflecting on the life of Edith Cavell on Sunday evening at 6.30pm.

The Festival is open 11am - 5pm each day.  Entry costs £1 per adult and under 16s are free.  A full itinerary can be found at and for further information please email Nick Miller at

St Mary the Virgin, Swardeston, NR14 8DG

Photo: Edith Cavell around 1893 – in St Mary’s Swardeston

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