In 1930 the first ‘Catherine Bowen Gold Award’ was given to the nurse who had gained the highest number of marks in her three years training.
In 1929 Mr W H Bowen provided an endowment of £100 to provide a gold medal for the best nurse. Bowen was appointed in, 1910 an ENT surgeon at Addenbrooke’s and later a general surgeon with a speciality in appendix surgery. His wife and daughter were both named Catherine so I am sure that is why the medal is named thus, and he was an active member of the Nursing Committee.
The first winner of the medal was Miss Alice Marian Woolerton. She was born in 1903 and in the 1927 decided to start training as a nurse at Addenbrooke’s. Her average mark was 86%, nearly 7% ahead of the second placed nurse. Marian became a staff nurse and then sister in charge of her own ward and joined the Territorial Army Nursing Service at the start of the war.
Her unit followed the British Expeditionary Force into northern France and when this force withdrew, she was responsible for transferring the wounded from Etaples across the channel prior to the Dunkirk evacuation. She was then posted to Egypt, before her unit was sent to follow the D-Day landings in Normandy and then to India. She received the Royal Red Cross medal in recognition of her wartime service, and also a worthy winner of the first Catherine Bowen Gold Award.
The award only appears to have been awarded for a few years and the last in 1937 when it was decided to use the endowment to buy books for the nurses library.