Ceremony to mark 100th anniversary of Edith Cavell's death

A civic ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of a courageous First World War nurse will take place in Peterborough next week.

British nurse Edith Cavell, who was at school in the city, was executed at dawn on October 12 1915.

A civic procession in her memory will leave Peterborough Town Hall in Bridge Street for Peterborough Cathedral at 6.45am on Monday 12 October 2015.

A two minute silence will be observed at 7am at the Cathedral and the procession will then head to the Peterborough War Memorial for a service of memorial led by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor John Peach, and The Reverend Canon Bruce Ruddock, Canon Precentor at the Cathedral.

There will be a gun salute to commemorate the centenary of her execution.

When the war broke out in 1914, Edith Cavell, who was now fluent in French, went to Brussels to nurse injured soldiers whatever their nationality.

Following the German occupation of Brussels, Edith Cavell, who was back in Britain at the time, headed straight to Brussels to be with her nurses instead of remaining in Britain, risking her life in the face of disposition from the invading army.

The clinic she was in charge of became part of a resistance network of safe houses for hundreds of Allied soldiers before they were smuggled into the Netherlands.

However, in August 1915, this resistance group was betrayed by a German collaborator and Edith Cavell was arrested and tried for treason before being executed. Her execution received worldwide condemnation.

A blanket of hand-crafted poppies created by Peterborough artist Charron Pugsley-Hill will be laid at the war memorial.

The blanket consists of 49 felt poppies made by Peterborough women, each poppy representing a year of Edith Cavell’s life.

It also has a centrepiece design of Britain, Belgium and the sea that contains words and symbols associated with her remarkable life.

Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive of Peterborough City Council, who made one of the 49 felt poppies, said: "Edith Cavell was famed for being a woman of strong principles and religious conviction.

“It is important to remember the sacrifice she made to look after countless numbers of people including injured soldiers.

“Edith Cavell has a strong connection with Peterborough, as she attended Laurel Court school in the grounds of Peterborough Cathedral where she learned the fluent French that enabled her to work in Brussels as head of a number of clinics, hospitals and nursing schools."

Representatives from the Royal British Legion will also be attending the ceremony to support the run up to the launch of the 2015 Poppy Appeal.

All are welcome to attend the two minute silence and memorial service.

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