Nurses Gold Medal

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.

Catherine Bowen medal

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.

5 thoughts on “Nurses Gold Medal

  1. pearcehiggins

    Miss Woolerton was a very organised Assistant Matron when I first knew her 1961 we performed a nativity play As a first year nurse my set were the stars ! I was Joseph my friend Adrienne who has a good voice sang a solo as as a king we did what we were told and in full costume started in Chlidrens ward up to Private wards and through the laundry hatch arrived in Griffith ward I think it took a couple of nights to do all the wards of the Old hospital and Miss Woolerton masterminded it all !


    1. addenbrookesarchive

      Anthony, thank you so much for the information and for the link – it is really very interesting. What an amazing family you belong to. I would love to have a copy of the medal. Could you e-mail the Archives at CUH:


  2. Caroline Forbes

    I have read the archive relating to the Catherine Bowen medal. I am W.H.Bowen’s granddaughter.My grandfather endowed the medal in memory of his mother Catherine Bowen who died in 1926. My grandmother (who was NOT called Catherine) she was Kathleen Edith Bowen. Her daughter my aunt was Kathleen Anne (always called Anne) My grandmother presented the medal for many years and later the books that succeeded it. I remember she was still doing this in the early 1960’s as I happened to be staying with her on one occasion and she explained that my grandfather had wanted to endow this in memory of his mother.
    When my grandmother died 2 nurses in uniform attended the funeral representing the hospital.


    1. addenbrookesarchive

      Dear Caroline, thank you for your comment and for the correction – I really appreciate it and will update our records. what an amazing impact your grandparents have had on their community and the Hospital and how interesting for you to have them as part of your family.


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