Cavell’s courage is coined

Edith Cavell Lower School PNL-151103-100121001
Edith Cavell Lower School PNL-151103-100121001

The courage of a First World War nurse is being commemorated with a new £5 coin.

And the Royal Mint visited a school which bears her name – Edith Cavell Lower School, in Bedford.

The mint’s programme director Fergus Feeney met pupils and answered their questions about the coin.

Mr Feeney, who headed up the Royal Mint’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic coin and victory medals programme, also gave the children a talk on the design and manufacturing process.

He said when the coins are released on June 1, there will be just 25 gold coins featuring Edith Cavell and 2,500 silver ones. The design was created by artist Dave Cornell and depicts Edith Cavell in her nurse’s cap.

During a special assembly, Mr Feeney presented the school with a unique commemorative framed plaster cast of the coin and told the children they should “be very proud to be at such a great school and one that bears the name of such a brave lady”.

The Edith Cavell £5 is part of a series of coins commemorating the First World War. 2015 is also the centenary of her death by firing squad.

Edith Cavell was an English-born nurse who served on the frontline in Belgium during the First World War.

She cared for all wounded, regardless of their nationality and was criticised at the time for assisting German and Austrian soldiers.

She was arrested for helping 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium and was subsequently court-martialled, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. She was shot by a German firing squad and her execution received worldwide condemnation.

Edith Cavell Lower School head teacher Heather Cooke said: “We are proud that our school bears the name of Edith Cavell and that The Royal Mint is recognising her selfless bravery during the centenary of her death.

“This visit, and the commemorative plaque, will live long in the memories of all our pupils and remind us of Edith Cavell’s sacrifice to save others.”

The school is also celebrating its own 40th anniversary this year. Working with local artist, Katy Dynes, it will create a unique mural that will reflect both anniversaries and the commemorative coin.