Victor Harbor resident Jarn McKenzie has a copy of a letter written by iconic nurse Florence Nightingale

HISTORY: Victor Harbor resident Jarn McKenzie with a copy of a letter hand written by Florence Nightingale.
HISTORY: Victor Harbor resident Jarn McKenzie with a copy of a letter hand written by Florence Nightingale.

This year is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and it is in honour of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Retired school teacher Jarn McKenzie lives in Victor Harbor and has ownership of a copy of a letter written by the famous nurse.

Jarn copied the original letter which she viewed while teaching in London in 2005 at a privately owned Prep-School in Putney.

"I was teaching Year 2 and doing a lesson on who made a difference in London and how it has changed our lives," Jarn said.

"The school had many famous children who came from privileged backgrounds. The Attenborough family, Bonham-Carter and the Carnegie family to name a few. So the Year 2 Carnegie daughter said her family had a hand-written letter from Florence Nightingale."

The badge for 2020 celebrating the birth of Florence Nightingale.

The badge for 2020 celebrating the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Having surprises such as this was not a rarity to Jarn while working at such a prestigious school.

"The student said her great-great-grandfather was a doctor at the hospital where Florence Nightingale nursed.

"The original letter was very fragile and on creamy coloured paper. It had sticky tape on it to keep the letter together. We photo-copied the original so the students could view it without damaging the original," Jarn said.

"The letter is written to the Medical Department about a petty issue - allowing a hot water bottle for a man named Barry Ward, aged-17-years-old, who had lost his legs. Florence Nightingale was so brave, she knew that infections and sickness had to been clean.

"It's an interesting story and was written in 1855/56 during the Crimea War."

Jarn said working in the environment she taught, gave her the opportunity to teach and meet so many interesting people from interesting backgrounds and surprises like the Florence Nightingale letter were a pleasure to witness.

"I have been extremely lucky to have worked with such delightful children and families," Jarn said.

The original letter from Florence Nightingale still lives with the Carnegie family in London.

The hand written letter from Florence Nightingale.

The hand written letter from Florence Nightingale.

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