Anne Watkins
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The Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service

The 59th Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service took place on 15 May 2024 at Westminster Abbey. Read more about it in our news story here.

About the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service

The Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service has been held annually at Westminster Abbey since 1965.  It is a very important day in the annual FNF calendar and, indeed, for nursing and midwifery communities worldwide, as we come together to give thanks and to celebrate nurses and midwives everywhere who continue Florence Nightingale’s legacy today.

Central to the commemoration service is the Lamp. Florence Nightingale was known as ‘The Lady with The Lamp’ as she made her rounds at night tending to the soldiers wounded in the Crimean War.

 The Lamp used in the service today was purchased in memory of Mrs Kathleen Dampier-Bennett, a committee member of the Foundation from 1951 – 1968. The Lamp is inscribed in her memory and was dedicated by the Dean of Westminster at the service on 12 May 1970, the 150th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It has been used at every service since.

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The Service

A scholar of the Foundation carries the Lamp with two escorts as it is processed in the Abbey. Student nurses follow, signifying the transfer of knowledge to future generations of nurses and midwives.

A procession of the Nurses’ Roll of Honour is carried and escorted by the Military Matrons in Chief. It was compiled by the British Commonwealth Nurses War Memorial Fund. It is to honour Commonwealth Nurses killed during the Second World War.  Between services it is kept in the Florence Nightingale and Nurses Chapel in the Abbey. 

In 2022, an additional Roll of Honour was processed to remember nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare support workers who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can see photos from previous services below:

2024 Service

Photographs Credit: The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

2023 Service

2022 Service

2021 Service