Our history

Browse through the history of Cavell Nurses' Trust, from the life of Edith Cavell herself right through to the latest milestones achieved by the charity.

  • 2016

    • Marathon weekend

      Marathon weekend

      Cavell supporters, and nurses, Jo and Phil ran in separate marathons on Sunday 29th May. Joan ran in Liverpool and raised £3680, whilst Phil completed his in Kent and raised £650. Both amazing achievements to be #HereForNurses.

    • Cavell Awards 2016

      Cavell Awards 2016

      An inspiring evening celebrating outstanding nursing talent in the UK. Ten awards were presented to students nurses and midwives as well as qualified nurses with Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell as the guest of honour.

    • Sara's skydive for nurses

      Brave nurse Sara dived out of a plane at 14,000 ft to support fellow nurses suffering hardship. She raised an amazing £525!

    • Michelle's story

      Michelle's story

      We were proud to be able to support nurse Michelle in getting back to work after a spinal cord injury. The generosity of our supporters made this possible.

  • 2015

    • NGS grow support for nurses

      NGS grow support for nurses

      The National Gardens Scheme very generously donated £50,000 to help nurses living through hardship and support the Cavell Awards scheme to celebrate nursing talent.

    • Cavell Nurses' Trust Commemorations in London

      Cavell Nurses' Trust Commemorations in London

      Cavell Nurses' Trust, with the Royal London Hospital, marked the centenary of Edith Cavell's death at her Statue in St Martin's Place, London.

    • Memorial in Belgium unveiled

      Princess Astrid of Belgium unveiled a bust of Edith Cavell to mark the centenary of her death. The event was attended by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, President of our Centenary Appeal, Susan Osborne, Trustee of Cavell Nurses' Trust and Sarah-Louise Flowers, previous winner of the Edith Cavell Scholarship Award.

    • Cavell Nurses' Trust mark the Centenary of Edith's death in Norwich

      Cavell Nurses' Trust mark the Centenary of Edith's death in Norwich

      Cavell Nurses Trust were proud to be part of the Royal British Legion Service at Edith's graveside at Norwich Cathedral and lay a wreath in Remembrance.

    • Mount Cavell Challenge

      Mount Cavell Challenge

      70 Cavell supporters travelled to Canada for a week of challenges to raise awareness and funds for Cavell Nurses Trust. The trip included an ascent of Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park.


  • 2014

    • His Excellency the Belgian Ambassador to the UK become a Patron

      His Excellency the Belgian Ambassador to the UK become a Patron

      His Excellency the Belgian Ambassador to the UK, Guy Trouveroy, became Patron of Cavell Nurses' Trust. The Belgian Embassy continue to support our work in keeping Edith's legacy alive.

    • 100,000 signatures for Edith to appear on Coin

      100,000 signatures for Edith to appear on Coin

      A petition started by Sioned-Mair Richards, a Sheffield Councillor, to see Edith on the First World War commemorative £2 coin is presented to the Treasury following over 103,272 signatures from the public.

  • 2013

    • HRH The Princess Royal becomes President of our Centenary Appeal

      HRH The Princess Royal becomes President of our Centenary Appeal

      HRH The Princess Royal becomes President of our Centenary Appeal 2015 which aims to raise £1m and double the number of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants we are able to help.

  • 2012

    • Edith Cavell Centenary Appeal

      Edith Cavell Centenary Appeal

      On October 12th 2012, we launch our Centenary Appeal, aiming to double the number of beneficiaries we are able to assist from 1,000 to 2,000 by 2015. To achieve this we will need to raise £1 million by 2015, the equivalent to doubling the amount that was raised in 1917.

  • 2011

    • Nurseaid becomes Cavell Nurses' Trust

      Nurseaid becomes Cavell Nurses' Trust

      In 2011, our charity rebrands from NurseAid to Cavell Nurses’ Trust

  • 1993

    • Edith Cavell and Nations Fund for Nurses

      The fund is renamed the Edith Cavell and Nation's Fund for Nurses to recognise the part played by the Edith Cavell Fund.

  • 1981

    • Corry Cavell appointed President

      Corry Cavell was appointed President of the Nation's Fund for Nurses keeping the close links with the Cavell family and the fund.

  • 1921

    • Nation's Fund for Nurses

      In 1921, the administration of the Edith Cavell Fund was transferred to the Nation's Fund for Nurses with the proviso that it kept its name.

  • 1919

    • Edith's Body returns to the UK

      Edith's Body returns to the UK

      May 13th - Edith's body returns to the UK and is taken from Dover to Victoria Station. It was then carried through streets lined with people (some even climbing the trees to see the hearse) to Westminster Abbey for a memorial service.

      In the afternoon, Edith's body is taken by a special train from Liverpool Street to Norwich, where another burial service at Norwich Cathedral takes place. According to her family’s wishes, Edith is reburied at the Cathedral with a tombstone also used to commemorate soldiers who served in the war.

  • 1918

    • The First World War Ends

      On November 11th 1918, the First World War ends.

  • 1917

    • Cavell Nurses' Trust Established

      Cavell Nurses' Trust Established

      In 1917, following the appeals in newspapers, a fund was established in memory of Edith Cavell. The Cavell family suggested this be used to establish respite homes in memory of Edith as when she retired, this is what she wanted to do herself. The Edith Cavell Rest Homes for Nurses were founded.

      As health and social care needs changed, designated respite homes were no longer relevant, however Cavell Nurses' Trust continue the ethos of caring for nurses through our welfare work.

    • National newspapers launch appeals

      Sensing the public outcry following Edith’s death, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mirror launched a public appeal for donations in memory of this brave nurse. The fund was to help nurses who were mentally and physically shattered. These funds raised an amazing £12,500 (over £550,000 in today’s money) and formed the endowment for what we today know as Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

  • 1915

    • Edith Cavell Executed

      Edith Cavell Executed

      On October 12th 1915, Edith is executed by firing squad at 7am. She is buried at the rifle range where she was shot and a plain wooden cross put over her grave.

      In the years following her death, Edith’s story of courage is adopted as propaganda helping to sway political and public opinion against Germany. The propaganda also caused recruitment to double in the two months following the announcement of her death.

    • Edith Faces Execution

      The night before, her execution, the English chaplain, Stirling Gahan, visits Edith and finds her calm. She tells him: "Standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

    • Governments around the World plea for Mercy

      October 7th - Despite international pleas for mercy, Edith, along with four others are found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

    • Edith is Implicated in the Escape of Soldiers

      5th August – Papers seized by German officials implicate Edith in the escape of soldiers and she is arrested by the Germans who say she is guilty of treason.

  • 1914

    • Edith Helps Allied Soldiers Escape

      Edith begins to help Allied Troops to escape into neutral Holland. To do so Edith smuggles patients through her hospital in Belgium, finding them guides and organising papers for them to cross the border. Edith takes identity card photos of some of the soldiers on her box Kodak and some are told to disguise themselves as Romanians so their use of English and lack of German/French language is not seen as suspicious.

      At one time, around 85 soldiers were hiding in Edith’s nursing school. Edith sends them out in the day into the town whilst the German officials carry out their inspections and then at night they crowd back in to the basement, corridors and beds, some even pretend to be patients.

    • "The Profession of Nursing Knows No Frontiers"

      Upon her return, Edith begins to help soldiers of all nationalities who have been wounded in the conflict telling her Nurses “each man was a father, a husband, a son: the profession of nursing knows no frontiers."

    • Britain declares War and Edith returns to Belgium

      Britain declares War and Edith returns to Belgium

      On August 4th Germany invades Belgium. Britain declares war on Germany. Edith is on holiday staying with her mother in England. She hastily makes plans to return to Belgium, declaring, ‘at a time like this - I am more needed than ever’

    • The First World War Begins

      Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated in Bosnia - this event starts the First World War.

  • 1907

    • Edith Cavell becomes a Matron

      Edith becomes the matron at a new school for nurses, 'L'École Belge d'Infirmières Diplômées', set up near Brussels.

  • 1898

    • Edith Completes her Nursing Training

      Edith Cavell completes her nursing training and becomes a private nurse.

  • 1897

    • Typhoid Epidemic in Maidstone, Kent

      After an outbreak of typhoid, Edith Cavell with 5 others are sent to Maidstone to help with the emergency. Edith worked literally until she dropped according to a fellow nurse and after the outbreak has been ended, the people of Maidstone held a collection so that each nurse could be awarded a medal 'for loving services'.

  • 1896

    • Edith Cavell begins her Nursing Training

      Edith Cavell begins her Nursing Training

      Edith Cavell is accepted for nursing training at the Royal London Hospital under Matron Eva Luckes, friend of Florence Nightingale.

  • 1895

    • Edith Cavell is Inspired to take up Nursing

      Edith Cavell returns to Swardeston when her father, Reverend Frederick Cavell, suffers from a short illness. It is this experience that leads Edith to pursue a career in nursing.

  • 1890

    • Edith Cavell becomes a Governess

      Edith Cavell becomes a Governess

      Edith Cavell becomes a governess to a family in Brussels, Belgium.

  • 1865

    • Edith Cavell is born

      Edith Cavell is born

      Edith Louisa Cavell is born on 4th December 1865 in Swardeston, a village near Norwich, in the UK. She is the eldest of four children and is taught to always share with the less fortunate, despite her family’s meagre earnings.