Express & Star

Plans to commemorate “Cannock’s Florence Nightingale”

Councillors have backed plans to commemorate “Cannock’s Florence Nightingale” in the town centre.


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Ethel Powell’s dedication to better healthcare for Cannock Chase residents laid the foundation for the system in place today, district councillors have been told.

Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald has been working with Cannock and District Soroptimists, who are part of the international women’s volunteer movement, to honour Mrs Powell’s achievements.

They are planning to install a plaque in Cannock town centre so her legacy can be remembered in years to come and inspire younger generations to make a positive difference for their community too.

On Wednesday (April 17), Councillor Fitzgerald called on fellow Cannock Chase councillors to back the project.

She said: “From 1977 Ethel Powell campaigned tirelessly to help raise £1.5million for medical care in Cannock Chase and was awarded an MBE 33 years later upon her retirement aged 90.

"She also received Freedom of the District and was only the third person to receive this award.

“Ethel and her team, including her husband John, worked tirelessly dedicating time and effort into raising money for the benefit of local patients.

"She devoted herself to getting the best equipment and services for Cannock Chase Hospital.

“Ethel Powell’s vision and commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility led to the establishment of our hospital in Cannock and her advocacy for better healthcare facilities reflected her deep concern for the well-being of the local community.

"Through her leadership and determination, she laid the foundation for a local healthcare system that prioritises the needs of our local residents.

“Additionally, Ethel Powell’s initiative in founding the League of Friends demonstrated her passion for supporting those in need.

"The organisation played a vital role in providing assistance and resources to individuals requiring medical care and has grown into an organisation that provides catering and ward support to patients and their families and staff in our local hospital but also in both the County Hospital and St George’s Hospital in Stafford.

“The League is now also a leading Supported Housing provider in Stafford.

"By creating a supportive network within the community, Ethel Powell ensured that individuals facing health challenges received the necessary support and care.”

Members of Cannock Chase Council voted unanimously to support the project at their full meeting on Wednesday.

Council leader Tony Johnson said: “I don’t think you can find anybody in this chamber who will be against the motion.

“I met Mrs Powell on many occasions. She was a force of nature.”

Councillor Val Jones, who seconded the motion, said: “If you read Ethel’s biography what comes through is her big heart and how she cared for others.

"She was a force to be reckoned with and didn’t mind a bit of upset to get what her patients needed.

“There is already a memorial in the hospital and I agree we need one in the town centre so people can be reminded of our local heroine.

"It could have a QR code so people can read of her achievements.”

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