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Great Gonerby's surprising connection to Florence Nightingale re-told on the 202nd anniversary of the Lady with the Lamp's birth and International Nurse's Day

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A woman who became a well-known name in Great Gonerby as she helped her husband to run a grocery business had a surprising connection to Florence Nightingale.

As the 202nd anniversary of Nightingale's birth is marked on International Nurse's Day 2022, the Journal scoured its archive to learn of the story of Annie Elizabeth Parker.

Mrs Parker, who helped to run Parker and Sons grocers, was christened by Nightingale when a babe in arms in the mid 1860s.

Florence Nightingale (56566789)
Florence Nightingale (56566789)

An original report in The Journal from 1952 explained how Mrs Parker and her daughter Ruth, of Green Street, Great Gonerby, were guests when Granada cinema was showing a film about Nightingale.

Mrs Parker and Ruth were guests of Granada cinema manager Harry Sanders to watch The Lady With A Lamp, starring Anna Neagle in the title role.

Mr Sanders presented them each with a complimentary ticket, provided transport and handed Mrs Parker a bouquet of red and white flowers to mark the occasion.

The report, from the Journal in February 1952, said: "Mrs Parker was born in Sheffield and when she was about three months old Florence Nightingale was touring the district giving religious lectures.

"During her tour she was asked to take a christening service at the Brunswick Wesleyan chapel, Sheffield Moor and it was then that Mrs Parker was baptised."

The article also gave brief details of Mrs Parker's life. She was married in 1888 and moved to Gonerby in 1914 when her husband took over the grocery and bakery business of Parker and Sons.

Grantham Journal article from 1952 about Annie Elizabeth Parker who was christened by Florence Nightingale (56625198)
Grantham Journal article from 1952 about Annie Elizabeth Parker who was christened by Florence Nightingale (56625198)

She had two sons and two daughters. When her husband died, thier son Frank looked after the wholesale grocery business of Parker and Co., on London Road, Grantham, and her other son, Lawrence, succeeded his father in the shop at Gonerby which had been in the family for over 100 years when the article was written in 1952.

Florence Nightingale was born in 1820 and is now seen as the mother of modern nursing. She campaigned for better healthcare for ordinary people and is most closely associated with nursing soldiers of the Crimean War. She returned from the region in 1856 and opened her own college to train nurses in 1860.

As part of events to mark the anniversary of her birth, The Florence Nightingale Museum in London has now reopened after being shut during the pandemic.

It is based in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital where Nightingale based her nursing college.

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