Commemoration Service

Service 2004 Service 2005 Service 2006 Service 2007

The Service is held each year at Westminster Abbey on a date close to Florence Nightingale’ s Birthday which is the 12th May.

The Service is attended by approximately 2,000 people,  mainly nurses, midwives and health visitors, Government Ministers and those associated with the Foundation.

During the Service, the Lamp - symbolic of Florence Nightingale - is taken from the Nurses' Chapel in the Abbey and carried by a senior member of the profession; it is handed from one nurse to another, thence to the Dean, who places it on the High Altar. This signifies the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another.

The Lamp is escorted by a procession of nurses, usually student nurses.

At the Service there is also a procession of the Nurses' Roll of Honour. This is in remembrance of those Nurses who gave their lives in the Second World War while caring for the sick and wounded and whose names are recorded in the Nurses' Chapel. The Roll is carried by a member of the armed forces and is escorted each year by the three Matrons in Chief of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

The Chelsea Pensioners also attend the Service in recognition of the tremendous work undertaken by Florence Nightingale in reforming the armed forces during her lifetime.

Services are held all over the world to commemorate Florence Nightingale. These services are also a celebration of nursing.

A service is held in Northern Ireland on the Sunday before her birthday. It moves to a different part of the country each year.

At St Margaret's Church at East Wellow in Hampshire, where Florence Nightingale is buried, a service is also held on the Sunday after her birthday.


Tickets for the Service  at Westminster Abbey are available, free, from the Florence Nightingale Foundation’ s offices during March and April.

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Email to:  Florence Nightingale Foundation
Last updated on11 September 2006