Beyond the Call
The Jean Scott Memorial Lecture
Thursday November 29
This evening was the last of four annual events the Society has held to mark the centenary of WWI.
Beyond the Call told the extraordinary story of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD): shire girls and vicars’ daughters plunged into a world of mud, blood, lice and mustard gas, a million miles from the Edwardian drawing-rooms they left behind. The audio-visual presentation was augmented with a collection of anecdotes, letters, poems, and diaries to tell a story of quiet, understated heroism and dogged determination in the midst of impossible odds. Finchley enters the story as well, with anecdotal evidence from 1914-8 of local VADs and local VAD hospitals.
The VAD inspired the creation of the Nursing Memorial Appeal, a registered charity embracing all nurses who gave their lives in both World Wars. The Appeal raised £90,000 for a permanent memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, which was dedicated in June by the Appeal’s Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex. The work of the Appeal continues, however, raising funds for “Extreme Nursing Today”, providing grants and bursaries for training and research in humanitarian and conflict nursing. This ensures a lasting link between yesterday’s heroines and tomorrow’s savers of lives.
Sonja Curtis, Secretary and Trustee of the Nursing Memorial Appeal, introduced the presentation by John Drewry, a Patron of the Appeal. Eunice Drewry, costumed as a WW1 VAD, read extracts from wartime diaries, journals and bulletins.
There was an exit collection for voluntary donations.
The meeting took place at Avenue House, located in Stephens House and Gardens, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE.