North Devon is being urged to shine a light and turn it blue on Tuesday (May 12) to celebrate the exceptional work nurses are doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) is urging people to mark International Nurses’ Day by making the region blue.

The day also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing and pioneered infection control.

A statement from NDHT said: “We’re asking people to make North Devon blue – wear something blue if they don’t wear a uniform, light up their house blue, put something blue in their windows – anything to mark the occasion. People will be asked to share their blue pictures with the hashtag #lightupforthenhs”

North Devon landmarks set to be lit up blue in the evening include The Albert Clock in Barnstaple and Damien Hirst’s Verity statue in Ilfracombe.

A tree will be planted at North Devon District Hospital to serve as a permanent reminder of the day.

People are encouraged to join in national celebrations by shining a light from their windows at 8.30pm, marking the day and showing appreciation for all that nurses are doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “International Day of the Nurse is particularly special this year not just because we mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, but because of the extraordinary work all those who have followed in her footsteps are doing in the fight against coronavirus.

“I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the frontline in the battle against the greatest health emergency in NHS history. Their professionalism and skills are helping to save and rebuild countless lives.

“It is a challenging but hugely rewarding career and I would urge anyone inspired by their example to sign up to join us and become a nurse.

“I know how much the public’s support has buoyed my colleagues during this testing time. It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday.”