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LOVELL, ELIZABETH ISABEL nee GINGER (OBE, MBE)

 

Elizabeth Ginger, or Lily as she was known, was born at Kakaramea on the 19 September 1876, the daughter of William Stanley and Elizabeth Rennie Ginger nee Stephen. On the 2 June 1896, she married Harold Thomas Lovell who was the Taranaki buyer of dairy produce for Lovell and Christmas, London.

 

Lily was prominent in patriotic work during World War One, being president of the Red Cross, St John Ambulance and Women's National Reserve. In recognition for this work she was made an OBE in October 1920, one of the first women in Hawera to receive such an award. In the influenza epidemic of 1919, she was one of the organisers of an emergency hospital opened in the old winter show buildings (now Challenge Engineering) to care for patients, and at the request of doctors she opened a similar hospital at Kaponga.

 

The work of Dr Barnardo's Homes was very dear to Lily's heart, and for many years the grounds of her home on South Road were used for a garden party for the homes.

 

Gardening and floral work occupied an increasing amount of Lily's interest and she was made an Associate of Honour, the highest award of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture in recognition of her work. She was also patron of the Hawera Horticultural Society, vice-president and a fellow of the South Taranaki District Council of RNZIH.

 

Lily was the holder of national certificates in floral art, and was a frequent prizewinner and medallist at shows, as well as a popular demonstrator of floral work. For many years, she worked as judge, particularly of the decorative sections at shows over a wide area. As a professional florist, Lily practised from 1919 to 1939 and attended conferences of the Florists' Telegraphic Group, forerunner of Teleflora, in America in 1932, 1934 and 1937.

 

On her property at South Road, Hawera she constructed the first underground excavated fernery in New Zealand, and this led to a request to design the fernery at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Then in 1922, she was asked to design the W A Parkinson Memorial Fernery at King Edward Park, Hawera. Unfortunately, by 1966, this fernery had fallen into a state of disrepair, and it was replaced with the Willow-Pattern Garden.

 

Shortly before her death, Lily was made a Member of the British Empire for her horticultural work. She died on the 25 June 1960 at Hawera aged 84 years, and is buried at the Manutahi cemetery. Sophia Ginger was an aunt.

 

SOURCES

Obituary "Hawera Star" 27 June 1960

Mrs Pat Blyth, Hawera (daughter)


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