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Published on: Tuesday May 12, 2020

At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, British nurse Edith Cavell was at home in Norwich visiting her family.

She told those closest to her that…

“At a time like this, I am more needed than ever.”

At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, British nurse Edith Cavell was at home in Norwich visiting her family. She told those closest to her that “at a time like this, I am more needed than ever”.

Edith Louisa Cavell was born on December 4th 1865 in Swardeston, a small village not far from Norwich in Norfolk where her father was the Reverend.

After living and working in Belgium as a Governess, Edith returned to Swardeston when her father became very unwell and assisted with nursing him back to health. It is believed that this is when Edith was inspired to become a nurse.

Eakin Surgical - Nurse Edith Cavell

In 1896, Edith began her training at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, under Matron Eva Lückes, a friend of Florence Nightingale. After completing her nurse training in 1898, Edith held a number of roles in British hospitals before being invited back to Brussels to nurse a sick child. Edith was invited to be Matron of the first Nursing School in Belgium, L’École Belge d’Infirmières Diplômées.

When the first world war began, Edith made plans to return to Belgium, where she cared for all the wounded, regardless of nationality. She was greatly criticised by many at the time for assisting the German and Austrian soldiers when they were fighting against the British.

Edith soon began to work with others to smuggle the Allied soldiers under her care, out of the hospital and across the border to neutral Holland. It is believed that she saved the lives of over 200 men thanks to her bravery.

After a lengthy investigation, the suspicions of the German Officials grew and Edith, along with others, was arrested and sent to trial. She was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by firing squad.

At dawn on 12th October 1915, despite international pressure for mercy, nurse Edith Cavell was put to death by a German firing squad.

Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage. Her image and story were widely used in propaganda and recruitment posters encouraging British soldiers to sign up to the war effort.

In 1917, The Daily Telegraph and The Mirror launched a national appeal for funds in her memory raising £12,500. The fund was intended to be used for nurses who were “shattered mentally and physically, who have sought the health of others at the expense of their own.”

The fund came to be known as the Nation’s Fund for Nurses, which later became Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

Today, the trust supports UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants when they are facing personal or financial hardship often due to illness, domestic abuse and more recently the impact of Covid-19.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, the charity has seen its busiest months to date. As Edith Cavell said: “at a time like this, I am more needed than ever.”

That’s why Single Use Surgical has partnered with Cavell Nurses’ Trust, to help raise money to support nurses in their time of need. Single Use Surgical will be donating 5p from the sale of every box of product sold in the UK to Cavell Nurses’ Trust, to help raise vital funds to support the work carried out by the charity.

Sales Director Jon Blastland said:

“I am delighted to be a part of this new collaboration with Cavell Nurses’ Trust, it’s very important in these times of Covid-19, but my wish is – to continue to support our fantastic NHS nurses long after the virus has been beaten. Nurses are the heart of our NHS and they should receive the support and gratitude they deserve”

John Orchard, Chief Executive at Cavell Nurses’ Trust said: “Edith Cavell continues to inspire people a century on and Cavell Nurses’ Trust is proud to support nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in her name. We’re incredibly grateful to the team at Single Use Surgical for getting behind us in this way and helping us support the nursing family in the UK.”

To find out more about Cavell Nurses’ Trust visit: