THE Hampshire tomb of Florence Nightingale has suffered significant damage after an 80ft tree fell on it during the Valentine’s Day storm.

A 10ft marble monument, it was struck by branches of the fallen tree as 80mph winds swept through the village graveyard where Florence is buried next to her parents.

The 3ft steeple-shaped top of the tomb smashed off along with a piece of the cross which hasn’t yet been found.

Reverend Chris Pettet, the vicar of St Margaret’s Church in East Wellow, near Romsey, recovered the top section and has locked it in his vestry to keep it safe.

He said: “This is obviously very sad news given the affection for Florence Nightingale across the community, the county and the country, but we are working as quickly as possible to ensure it can be restored to its former state as soon as possible.”

Lesley Mackay, the secretary of the PCC, has emailed the Florence Nightingale Museum with a request for help to raise funds to repair the damage.

Natasha McEnroe, director of the museum, said: “We are very keen to support this and we can spread the word to Nightingale fans around the world.”

Nursing heroine Florence, a committed Christian, was known as the Lady of the Lamp during the Crimean War in 1853 when she tended to wounded soldiers and had a habit of making hospital rounds at night.