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Historian brings Edith Cavell to life in Diss

PUBLISHED: 15:55 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 13 August 2019

'Living historian' Georgette Vale giving a talk about Edith Cavell in costume. 
Picture: Anthony Kelly

'Living historian' Georgette Vale giving a talk about Edith Cavell in costume. Picture: Anthony Kelly

Archant Norfolk 2015

The last hours of First World War nurse Edith Cavell will be brought to life at a 'living history' talk in Diss.

Edith Cavell is the subject of a 'living history' talk in Diss. Picture: Archant LibraryEdith Cavell is the subject of a 'living history' talk in Diss. Picture: Archant Library

Local history and heritage enthusiast Georgette Vale will be in full period costume to portray the nurse speaking from Cell 23 at St Gilles prison in Brussels.

Born in Swardeston in 1865, Edith Cavell left Norfolk and trained as a nurse from 1895. She was responsible for starting the first professional school of nursing in Belgium in 1907 and, after the outbreak of the First World War, nursed soldiers from both sides of the conflict.

For nine months she worked with the Belgian and French resistance to shelter well over 200 soldiers from the German occupying forces, helping them escape to neutral Holland. She was betrayed and arrested, before being executed at 7am on Tuesday October 12, 1915.

After her death, she became a famous figure. Few of the millions who died in the Great War were repatriated for burial, but Edith's body was returned and a state funeral held in Westminster Abbey; a massive event of international significance.

She was buried at Life's Green in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral. Her grave was restored to mark the centenary of her death in 2015.

The talk at St Mary's Church Hall in Diss on August 16, 7.30pm, will see Georgette Vale will give a compelling and informative portrayal of the story of how she helped so many during the First World War from her cell before her execution.

Entry is £3 for Friends of Diss Museum, non-members £5. No need to book, just pay on the door, all welcome.

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