Britain’s PM lauds the work of St Vincent born nurse in the UK
More than 100 years after her death, the work of a native of St Vincent and the Grenadines who served as a nurse in a hospital in the United Kingdom (UK), has been acknowledged by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
In an address on October 1 to mark Black History Month observed in the United Kingdom (UK) during October, the British Prime Minister hailed the work of generations of Black health workers- doctors, nurses and midwives and medical staff “…Who for generations have been healing the sick and tending to the wounded.”
“Nurses like Mary Seacole who rode to the rescue of British soldiers in the Crimea, winning widespread love and admiration from the public; Annie Brewster, born in St Vincent who worked in a Victorian hospital in London; Princess Tsehai of Ethiopia; Kofoworola Abeni Pratt of Nigeria, and all who answered the call to serve in the newly created NHS (National Health Service) after World War two,” Johnson said.
In the brief address which was posted to social media, the Prime Minister said, “They epitomise public service and today, their baton is being carried forward by the incredible people in our NHS and all those who rallied round in our battle against covid”
“The transport workers, those in public health, the police, the Armed forces personnel. Your courage your fortitude have been awe- inspiring. We could not do this without you, so thank you…”Johnson said.
Born in St Vincent in 1858, Brewster’s father was said to be a wealthy merchant who originated from Barbados and settled in South London with his family who included Annie and a younger sister, according to Londonnewsonline.co.uk.
The publication refers to a Southwark historian Stephen Bourne, who was researching the life of Brewster when he found her grave in the city of London Cemetery.
Brewster was said to have been recruited in 1881 as a nurse in the London Hospital, located at Whitechapel, East London, where she remained until her death in 1902.
The hospital served a poor, ethnically diverse community and Brewster “was known to all her hospital friends as ‘nurse ophthalmic’ because of her painstaking work with elderly patients who were going blind,” having spent almost 14 of her years in the profession “in charge of the Ophthalmic Wards,” the publication notes.
Brewster is reported to have died at age 43 following an emergency operation.
Queries locally of persons who carry the surname Brewster have so far failed to turn up any information about nurse Annie Brewster and whether she may have surviving relatives in St Vincent.
In the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Central Kingstown Parliamentary Representative, St Clair Leacock, suggested that some form of recognition by given to the nurse whose service in a London hospital drew the thanks of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.