A RETIRED policeman has won his fight to have a commemorative coin and stamp made to mark 100 years since the death of Florence Nightingale.
For more than a year, president of the International Guild of Nurses, Arnold Baker, has called for the historical death to be properly recognised in Britain.
And now, as celebrations are held to mark the 100th anniversary of her death, Mr Barker has had his wish come true.
The 60-year-old, of Cresswell, Northumberland, has welcomed the move by the British Post Office after they opted to produce a new stamp to highlight the occasion. The Royal Mint have also issued a commemorative £2 coin and special coin set, with information recounting her remarkable life.
Grandfather-of-five Mr Barker said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and grateful that my suggestions have been taken on board and Florence Nightingale’s death has been officially marked in this way.
“Florence became known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ and is thought of by many as one of our first true nurses and she is probably the first name that comes to mind when anyone is asked to name a historical nursing figure.
“Whilst we at the Guild fully recognise that there were many other nurses who did as much as Florence never to receive such notoriety, we feel that this important historical landmark should be properly recognised in Britain.
“The £2 coin is the only British legal tender commemorative coin to be issued this year and it’s lovely to think it will be seen in pockets and purses throughout the country. It is always important to acknowledge the fantastic work nurses do and this is a great way to do that”.
During the Crimean War, Florence took a team of nurses to Constantinople in Istanbul to care for the ill and critically injured troops and won the undying respect of the nation.
Famous for her work in the military hospitals, she established nursing as a respectable profession for women.
The 100th anniversary of her death as well as the 150th anniversary of the publication of her Notes on Nursing falls this year. Mr Baker added: “It is important younger generations are taught about Florence Nightingale. I hope the new commemorative items act as a springboard for teachers and parents to educate schoolchildren about her work”.
:: To find out more about the commemorative coin log on to www.royalmint.com