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Royal College of Nursing president celebrates founder in centenary year

16 Dec 2016

RCN president Cecilia Anim visited Cheltenham Crematorium to celebrate Royal College of Nursing founder Dame Sidney Browne's contribution to nursing by laying a wreath on her grave.

RCN President Cecilia Anim and other dignitaries laying a wreath on RCN founder member Dame Sidney Browne

The ceremony marked the closing weeks of the RCN’s centenary year. 

The current RCN president laid the wreath in tribute to Dame Sydney Browne, who campaigned 100 years ago alongside Sarah Swift and Arthur Stanley MP for the Royal College of Nursing to be established to ensure a standardised nursing curriculum and a register of qualified nurses. 

This had a far-reaching impact on nursing, and was a significant achievement by a woman at a time when women were not allowed to vote.

During the ceremony Cecilia was joined by the Mayor of Cheltenham, Councillor Chris Ryder, RCN South West Council members Lors Allford and Vicky Brotherton, RCN South West regional director Jeannett Martin, and other dignitaries.

Cecilia said: “The role of RCN president is one steeped in history and it is an honour to pay tribute to Dame Sidney Browne; the first person to hold the office. She was a nursing visionary. The RCN's work today is only possible because of the determination and dedication she and her founding colleagues showed 100 years ago. Through these events we preserve her memory and reaffirm our commitment to supporting nurses and nursing for the next century and beyond.”

RCN South West Regional Director Jeannett Martin said: Dame Sidney moved to Cheltenham in her retirement and throughout the remainder of her life she maintained a great interest in nursing matters, particularly the welfare and progress of the military services. She laid the foundations for the RCN, an organisation that today supports around 435,000 nurses, health care assistants, nursing students and midwives across the UK.”

For more information on Dame Sidney Browne and the RCN, visit

Page last updated - 15/06/2018