The Nightingale Star, a not-for-profit project, is important for two reasons. It thanks those who worked through the pandemic and will help UK firms ride the recession caused by the virus.
The medal below is one of the elegant Nightingale badges that were awarded to nurses at the end of their training at the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas' Hospital from 1925 - 1992. The bright blue colour of the enamel was inspired by the ribbon of the Order of Merit awarded to Florence Nightingale in 1907. In January Harry Gray was using this Nightingale medal to inspire a series of artworks for the Nurse Pavilion planned for the 2020 Chelsea Flower Show. He still had the medal when the Coronavirus crisis cancelled the event and was inspired to make a contemporary badge to remember the effort required to fight the Pandemic.
“The massive response by the NHS and the Carers meant I kept hearing the phrase ‘They deserve a medal’ so I have designed one”
Called the Nightingale Star it has a central red circle with a broken edge based on the representations of the Covid-19 molecule we often see in the media. The Capital C initial acknowledges the NHS, the Carers, and all who have Cared during Covid. They are handmade using genuine glass enamel which, unlike resin, gives the greatest durability and amazing depth of colour.
The size of the Nightingale Star was suggested by two NHS staff nurses at the Rowans Hospice near Portsmouth who said they preferred a small wearable pin medal rather than a large medal "that would just stay in a drawer at home".
Harry Gray approached a UK company at the heart of Birminghams’ Jewellery Quarter to make prototypes of his design. This company called Fattorini was established in 1827 and is famous for making prestigious Nurses and Doctors badges.
Tom Fattorini "Before Covid we had plans to expand our apprentice programme to 2 or 3 more additional places. This has now been put on pause until the situation becomes clearer. Our current apprentice enameller is on furlough due to Covid."
A large order of the Nightingale Stars would be shared out to several firms in the Jewellery Quarter and help to create new apprenticeships.