Laura Lean Obituary News: Long-Serving Stalwart Of The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, Laura Lean Passes Away

Laura Lean Obituary News: Long-Serving Stalwart Of The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, Laura Lean Passes Away

Laura Lean Obituary, who has died aged 48, gave many years of outstanding service to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps, known as FANY).

The Corps’s founder was Edward Baker, a warrant officer in the 21st Lancers. He was wounded at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 and, lying on the battlefield, he thought that it would be wonderful if there were women able to administer first aid before the men were removed to the casualty clearing stations. Recruitment drives in the early years were designed to attract young women who could ride and who owned their own horses (hence the inclusion of yeomanry in the Corps’s name).

In the First World War, the FANY set up regimental aid posts, motor kitchens and mobile bath vehicles. They drove ambulances and had to cope with the most primitive living conditions while facing death and disease with equanimity, as well as Zeppelin bombing and chlorine gas attacks.

Independent and self-funded, the Corps survived the interwar years and, in the Second World War, the FANY provided radio and radar operators, coders, drivers, cooks and clerks. They served in Europe, North Africa and all over the Far East. Many served with the Special Operations Executive.

Laura Lean was deployed in several major incidents in support of the City of London Police’s Casualty Bureau. The incident room is the central point where all information is received, collated and assessed. These operational deployments included the Grenfell Tower Fire and the attack by a terrorist on London Bridge, both in 2017, and the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019. Lean went on to support the arrival of evacuees, many of whom were soldiers, from Afghanistan in 2021.

She knew Afghanistan well from her trips to the Middle East and was able to brief her colleagues in the FANY on the culture before they assisted the military in the operation. She also visited families in hotels and guest houses in London and the Home Counties, working under great pressure to assess and provide for their needs in a very limited time.

More recently, during the COVID pandemic, Lean was deployed to the Nightingale Hospital in London, working with the family support and liaison team as a vital lifeline between the intubated and unconscious patients and their families. Callers were sometimes going through highly traumatic experiences, and to remain calm and provide timely, sensitive and effective assistance could be a very exacting task.

Laura Alice Bevan Lean was born in Guildford, Surrey, on October 22, 1974. Her father was a captain in the Royal Navy. Her grandmother had served with the FANY and she was proud of the service her family had given in both World Wars.

She lived in Gibraltar, Spain and Venezuela as a child and was educated at Windermere St. Anne’s School before going up to Manchester University to read art history. She was a purchasing manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers for five years before moving to Chicago to work for the Art Institute there as a research volunteer in the department of prints and drawings.

She lived in Hyderabad, India, for 18 months before returning to England to become a freelance photographer, working for a number of agencies, including the Press Association. She also worked for the charity Turquoise Mountain, which supported craftsmanship, education and health in Afghanistan.