Hospital Lane, Ravenstone
Leicestershire LE67 2AJ

A reminder about a rather remarkable villager

12 May 2020

Today (Tues 12th May) is Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. 2020 is also 201 years since the birth of Ann Ayre Hely, in Ravenstone, Leicestershire. Ann went out to be a nurse in the Crimean war, working at Smyrna and Renkioi Hospitals. She was described by the senior nurse there as: “A very superior woman, a clever nurse, excellent temper, honest, sober, trustworthy and obliging, a great peacemaker amongst others.” In 1897 she was awarded the order of the Royal Red Cross which she can be seen wearing in this photograph, taken in the gardens of Ravenstone Hospital Historic Almshouses. In 2017 a Green Plaque was erected on the front wall of the Almshouses in her honour.

Ann Ayre Hely (nee Bradshaw) was born to a very ordinary family in Ravenstone, Leicestershire in 1819. Her parents kept the Plough Inn and her father was also a blacksmith. After only three years of marriage, she was tragically widowed at the age of 35 but she didn’t let her grief stop her leading an active and remarkable life.

By Wendy Freer