Dame Eileen Sills, recently retired Chief Nurse at Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), was presented with a framed Nightingale Badge on Monday 24th August via a Zoom meeting with several of the Nightingale Fellowship Trustees and past Council members. This is a rare award which was given to thank Eileen for her 15 years of support to the Fellowship and championing excellence in nursing care during her time at GSTT.

Following the call, Eileen responded as follows:
‘To everybody in the Nightingale Fellowship I can’t thank you enough for the lovely surprise that I received. I was very touched that you had wanted to honour me in this way especially as I have always wanted to be a Nightingale! I have had a fabulous 15 years at the Trust, it hasn’t always been easy but it has been a privilege to lead the profession and to have nursing held in such high esteem. The relationship we have developed with the Nightingale Fellowship has been precious and without your support the Nightingale Nurse Award and Academy would not have seen the light of day. I think between us we have managed to place nursing and midwifery in its rightful place. I didn’t want to retire, but I have had to accept that my health and my family have to come first. I had been so looking forward to the 2020 celebrations, but I am sure we will have ample opportunity to celebrate in 2021, as we see the Nightingale Garden open in the summer of next year.
I want to end by saying thank you to you all. With very best wishes, keep safe and I look forward to catching up at the AGM in 2021’.

Zoom photographs taken by the President

Dame Eileen in her garden

Dame Eileen in her garden

The framed Nightingale Fellowship badge

The framed Nightingale Fellowship badge


The Nightingale project for a plot at Brookwood Cemetery is now complete and Hilary Brian has given the following update to share with you:
‘The Cemetery is under new management and there is now a beautiful entrance building with a full-time receptionist.  There is now a legible (!) map which I am including here in case anyone would like to visit. Julie Davies and Joan Le Vasseur worked very hard over the years to establish the plot’s boundary and who is buried there and Pauleene Hammett galvanised her gardening team to dignify the site.  Thank you to all those people and also to all of those of you who so kindly donated money to enable us to purchase the picket fencing and identify the plot with the board.  I have emailed the management to thank them as the plot is being very nicely maintained – there are no fallen branches, the bushes have been pruned where they are near to graves and, clearly, it is regularly strimmed.  I drove around the whole Cemetery and didn’t see another plot bounded and identified as neatly as ours.  Our ‘sisters’ are truly resting in peace’.



Help for the Nurses in Lebanon

An Appeal is launched to help support the nurses in Lebanon who have been affected by the current crisis there.  Some of these nurses, who have had their homes destroyed and have been injured, are trying to return to work but cannot leave their damaged homes unsecured.  If you feel you would like to donate, you can do this via the following routes:
International Council of Nurses: Geraldine Limborg at [email protected]
The Order of Nurses in Lebanon and for more information:

The Nightingale Fellowship Chapel Service -12th May, 2020

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby blessed a new commemorative Florence Nightingale artwork at a special service celebrating her life.  The artwork was donated to The Florence Nightingale Fellowship and was blessed by the Archbishop at St Thomas’ Hospital Chapel on International Nurses’ Day (Tuesday 12 May), the anniversary of her birth.  This year is the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and the World Health Organisation has declared it ‘The International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife’ in her honour.  The artwork, a visual timeline of Florence Nightingale’s life, was created by the villagers of Dethick, Lea, Lea Bridge and Holloway in Derbyshire, where her family lived. The artwork is now displayed at St Thomas’ Hospital and cards and prints will be sold in support of the Florence Nightingale Museum, which is at risk of closure due to the impact of the covid-19 lockdown on their finances.
During the Chapel service the Archbishop also blessed the new Nightingale Fellowship Altar cloth, Lectern wrap and Chaplain’s stole and gave thanks to NHS staff and remembered those who have died during the pandemic. It also included contributions from nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital and the current President of the Fellowship, Gillian Prager.  The Nightingale Fellowship was due to welcome over 600 of The Nightingale Training School alumni to a special service and tea party at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. This is where in 1860 Florence Nightingale founded the first professional nursing school, and Nightingale nurses trained there until 1996. Nightingales across the world have been encouraged to have virtual tea parties to replace the planned gatherings and photographs will be available on the Fellowship website.  The Fellowship is also calling on nurses to help raise funds for the Florence Nightingale Museum by getting sponsorship for performing 200 nursing tasks – such as bed-making. To support the Florence Nightingale Museum visit
Gillian Prager, The Nightingale Fellowship President, said: “The 12th May holds a special place each year in the heart of every Nightingale Fellowship member, many of whom are still practising nurses and midwives. For many this will be whilst working at the front line against the world’s worst pandemic and we salute them all.  On the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth we are eager to show our support to the Florence Nightingale Museum, and solidarity with all NHS staff. We are proud of the response by nurses all over the world to COVID-19. Florence’s teaching and example shines through them all.”
The Fellowship commissioned Church Textiles, a Derby based company to design and create the Altar frontal, Lectern wrap and Chaplain’s stole, to celebrate the bicentenary and provide a lasting legacy of The Fellowship and its connection with St Thomas’.  The Nightingale Fellowship is the alumni association of those nurses who trained at the Nightingale Training School, at St Thomas’ Hospital London, and / or its successor organisations since 1860



Artwork from the villages near Lea Hurst

The Fellowship is delighted to accept and honour the work undertaken by the villagers of Dethick, Lea, Lea Bridge and Holloway in Derbyshire, to celebrate their famous resident whose family home was Lea Hurst. A local retired nurse – Mary White – has brought the project together in record time and this was blessed and is displayed at St Thomas’ Hospital, with cards and prints being sold in support of The Florence Nightingale Museum and Lea Village School.