New tribute to Norfolk heroine unveiled at Cathedral
Norfolk nurse Edith Cavell made the ultimate sacrifice helping First World War soldiers reach safety and this Saturday her heroism will be remembered at a special graveside service at Norwich Cathedral with the unveiling of a new interpretation board in Tombland highlighting her life story.
The annual memorial service will take place beside Edith Cavell’s final resting place at Norwich Cathedral at 11am on Saturday, October 13, just a day after the anniversary of her death by a German firing squad on October 12 1915.
All are welcome at the service which is expected to be attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich, members of the military and the Royal British Legion, nurses, and a representative from the Embassy of Belgium in London.
Immediately afterwards, a second event will pay tribute to the brave nurse who was born in Swardeston in 1865. A statue of Nurse Cavell stands outside Norwich Cathedral’s Erpingham Gate, and to mark the 100th anniversary of its unveiling by Queen Alexandra a new interpretation board will be revealed.
The Rev Dr Peter Doll, Canon Librarian and Vice Dean, who will lead the service, said: “The people of Norfolk have always treasured the memory of Edith Cavell as an ordinary local girl who did extraordinary work in the service of those in need.
“The annual Commemoration Service at her grave is a special opportunity for the community to give thanks for her witness.
“The new interpretation board in Tombland will give new generations and our many visitors an opportunity to understand why Edith remains so special to us.”
The aim of the new interpretation board is to ensure all who pass by the statue of Nurse Cavell are familiar with the incredible sacrifice she made helping more than 200 soldiers escape from occupied Belgium where she was head matron of Belgium’s first nurse training school in Brussels.
Photos of four of the soldiers Nurse Cavell helped also feature on the board. They include Colonel Dudley Boger and Sergeant Fred Meachin, both of the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment and who were the first two British soldiers to be helped by Nurse Cavell on November 1 1914, and Private R W (Billy) Mapes and Sergeant David Jesse Tunmore who were both from the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment.
Nick Miller, who runs the Edith Cavell website www.edithcavell.org.uk for St Mary's, Swardeston, led the creation of the interpretation board. He said: “Many people in Norfolk and beyond admire Nurse Cavell. “May I and all those who pass by pause to reflect, and seek to model their living on hers.”
The statue of Nurse Cavell – which was created by Henry Pegram and moved to its current location in 1993 – is also close the Maids Head Hotel, part of which was opened by Queen Alexandra as a Cavell Rest Home for Nurses on the same day the statue was unveiled.
Queen Alexandra’s visit took place on October 12 1918, the third anniversary of Nurse Cavell’s death.
The new interpretation board has been sponsored by Norwich Cathedral, the Bishop of Norwich, Maids Head Hotel, Norwich High School for Girls and CARE UK’s Cavell Court care home in Cringleford.
Photo of the Edith Cavell statue outside Norwich Cathedral’s Erpingham Gate: @copyright Paul Hurst all rights reserved