‘Heroic sacrifice’ of nurse will be honoured with new blue plaque in Chesterfield
A nurse who made a heroic sacrifice in nursing injured soldiers during the First World War is to be honoured by her home town.
A blue plaque will be unveiled this month at Spital Gardens, Chesterfield where Anne Veronica Fletcher once lived.
This will be only the second blue plaque dedicated to a woman in Chesterfield – the other is in honour of Lady Baden Powell and is in the grounds of the town hall.
Anne Veronica Fletcher was born in 1891, one of 12 children of Daniel and Mary (nee Kelly). Her father worked as a miner and was employed as a nurseryman living at Spital Nurseries when war broke out.
After training at Bradford Hospital Anne joined the Territorial Free Nursing Service in 1915 as a staff nurse. She was posted to East Leeds War Hospital to care for wounded soldiers. The King is said to have complimented her on her bandaging skills.
However, Anne contracted tuberculosis and she was forced to resign due to ill health in 1917. She was admitted to Walton Sanatorium and died at home on March 14, 1918, when she was just 27 years old.
Her obituary in the Derbyshire Courier stated: “Heroic sacrifice, the result of untiring devotion to duty in nursing sick and injured soldiers fresh from the battlefield was made by Nurse Anne Veronica Fletcher. Overwork and exposure undermined her constitution.”
Anne is buried in Spital cemetery where on the 100th anniversary of her death and International Women’s Day wreaths were laid by the British Legion, UNISON and Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Fast forward three years and The Friends of Spital Cemetery will unveil a blue plaque at the house where she lived. The ceremony will take place on July 27, 2021, at 11am.
A spokesman for the Friends said: “It gives us pleasure that finally a casual wish made at Anne’s graveyard on International Women’s Day has become reality. And, that this happens now during the extended International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”
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