Derbyshire school presented with letter from ‘lady with the lamp’

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Lea Primary School has been presented with a framed copy of an original letter from Florence Nightingale to John Burton Haywood – the village schoolmaster from 1870 to 1886.

The letter invites Haywood to stay at her house while passing through London just before Christmas 1877.

Miss Nightingale states she will settle up with him for the fees paid to speakers in a lecture series that he has organised. She also promises that if he also visits her on his way back north, she will have some books to send.

This ceremony, held at the school on March 16, forms part of a visit by members of the Florence Nightingale Society to Lea Hurst – the Nightingale family home, at the invitation of current owner Peter Kay.

Visitors from Japan and Canada will join UK colleagues to witness Gerald Calver hand over the copy. Gerald’s great grandmother was Haywood’s sister and the letter has stayed in his family through four generations.

Headteacher Karen Maycock, said: “Florence Nightingale is an inspiration for our children. Her father helped to fund Lea Primary School and without the Nightingale family, our school wouldn’t exist. The logbooks contain many references to visits by members of the family and treats and gifts to the school and the children. A Penny Bank was introduced in 1880, to which Florence was a trustee. It was incorporated into the National Savings Movement started in 1916. The school was awarded a certificate in 1976 to mark 60 years continued service to the movement.”