A BLUE plaque celebrating the life and achievements of Jane Packer was unveiled at her birthplace and childhood home, 11 St Francis Way, Chadwell St Mary by friends, family and loved ones.
Jane, who grew up in Thurrock, developed her passion for floristry working Saturdays in a locally run flower shop. One day a week, she would commute from her Essex home to study at Southwark college, where she developed the skills that would enable her to go on to become a groundbreaking figure in her industry – changing floristry into a contemporary art form that encouraged many to follow in her footsteps.
At the age of 22, Jane opened her first shop just off London’s famous Oxford Street, and at the age of 26, designed flowers for a royal wedding. Jane went on to win numerous gold awards at Hampton Court Flower Show, was awarded the Prince Philip Medal in 2005 for her outstanding achievements, wrote 13 books, designed the winner’s bouquets for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and opened shops and floristry schools across the world – all contributing to making Jane Packer a global brand.
Jane contracted a brain tumour in 2004 and died on 9th November, 2011.
Jane was loved and respected by many, not just for her talents and contribution to her industry, but for her kind, loving nature and uniquely positive outlook on life. Jane continues to be an inspiration to many that knew her, including her friends and family, who are incredibly proud that she has been honoured with a plaque from The Essex Women’s Commemoration Project.
Brenda Packer, Jane’s mother, said: “We are extremely proud of what our daughter achieved and when we were asked by The Essex Women’s Commemoration Project if we would like a plaque to be placed on our home, where Jane was born, we were thrilled.
Jane’s husband Gary added: “The world’s floriculture community are largely aware of Jane’s achievements, but ironically, the neighbourhood in which she grew up are possibly not. It’s therefore a really special occasion to unveil a permanent commemoration to a daughter of Chadwell St. Mary which will hopefully inspire more Essex women to achieve the extraordinary.
The Jane Packer Foundation
Jane was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive brain tumour in 2004 but after treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy, made a good recovery and was able to return to work and live a normal life.
In 2010 she suffered a stroke which is suspected to have been radiation-nduced following her treatment six years earlier. Regretfully the tumour returned, causing a further stroke in October 2011 from which Jane never recovered.
During her illness, Jane and her husband Gary frantically looked for treatment options and discovered that brain tumour research was woefully underfunded in the UK.
Therefore, the first aim of Jane Packer’s lasting legacy is to help fund
research centres through a partnership with BrainTumorResearch.org that support permanent research teams operating in the same way that leukaemia and breast cancer researchers have done for many years with a considerable degree of success.
The Jane Packer foundation also helps to support the staff at St. John’s Hospice, London, where Jane spent the closing chapter of her life.