Westminster Abbey service honours National Trust co-founder

Published 23 October 2012
Social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust Octavia Hill has been honoured at a service at Westminster Abbey.

Hill founded the National Trust in 1895 together with Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley out of a shared concern over the impact of industrialisation and a desire to protect particular spaces for the enjoyment of the public.

A memorial stone commissioned by the National Trust a century after her death was dedicated during the service.

The Abbey was decorated with eight spectacular floral displays incorporating thousands of flowers, foliage and fruit from National Trust gardens across south-west England.

The dramatic arrangements were put together by Mike Calnan, head of gardens at the Trust, and assembled by floral artist and daughter of one of the Trust's head gardeners, Rebecca Louise Law, together with Abbey florist Jane Rowton-Lee.

Guests at the service included National Trust Chairman, Simon Jenkins, and Director-General, Dame Fiona Reynolds, broadcaster Julia Bradbury and writer Robert Macfarlane.

Prayers at the service were conducted by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of
Westminster.

The memorial stone is made of Purbeck marble, and has been laid in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

Dame Fiona Reynolds said: "Octavia Hill had a profound impact on this country both as a social reformer and as a co-founder of the National Trust.

"She and her fellow reformers believed passionately that access to beauty, heritage and nature was a basic human need.

"Her biggest legacy has perhaps been the National Trust, which last year reached four million members - surely exceeding even her ambitions.

"All year we have been commemorating the work of this remarkable woman, and I am delighted by the opportunity to honour her legacy in this way."

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