Bot­tle tale lifted gran

OBITUARY

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A WOMAN who once was the fo­cus of in­ter­na­tional news will be re­mem­bered as a pri­vate per­son who was de­voted to her fam­ily.

Emily Crowhurst died on Jan­uary 10, aged 101.

In 1999 the Royal Oak res­i­dent was the fo­cus of world­wide at­ten­tion when a mes­sage-in-a-bot­tle writ­ten by her fa­ther dur­ing World War I was dis­cov­ered.

Mrs Crowhurst was born in Stock­ton-on-Tees, Eng­land on Au­gust 25, 1912.

Her fa­ther, Pri­vate Thomas Hughes of the Durham Light In­fantry, died in a bat­tle in France in 1914 just days af­ter writ­ing the note, which he dropped from a troop ship into the English Chan­nel.

The let­ter to his wife was signed off ‘‘Ta ta sweet, for the present. Your Hubby’’.

English fish­er­man Steve Gowan found the bot­tle 85 years later in the es­tu­ary of the River Thames.

Mrs Hughes’ daugh­ter Mrs Crowhurst was tracked down in New Zealand af­ter her cousin in Eng­land re­sponded to a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle.

Mr Gowan hand-de­liv­ered the note and Crowhurst’s story was tured by the BBC.

‘‘She was a very pri­vate per­son and was de­voted to her fam­ily. If it wasn’t for the mes­sage-in-a-bot­tle in­ci­dent her life would prob­a­bly have gone by quite un­no­ticed by oth­ers,’’ her daugh­ter Mrs fea- El­iz­a­beth Pretty says. Mrs Crowhurst was only 2 when her fa­ther died. Her mother re­mar­ried and the fam­ily came to New Zealand in 1922.

Mrs Crowhurst mar­ried her hus­band Ge­orge in 1937 at St Marks Church in Re­muera. He died in 1989.

The pair had four chil­dren, 10 grand­chil­dren, 14 great­grand­chil­dren, and seven great-great-grand­chil­dren.

Mrs Crowhurst lived at the Cather­ine Lodge rest home in Royal Oak.

‘‘She was very proud of her English her­itage. One mem­ber of her church called her ‘a lady with­out a ti­tle’, and she was recog­nised as such by both the res­i­dents and staff at Cather­ine Lodge,’’ Mrs Pretty says.

She was a mem­ber of the Spir­i­tu­al­ist Church in New­mar­ket and a me­mo­rial ser­vice was held for her there on Satur­day.

In­cred­i­ble dis­cov­ery: Fish­er­man Steve Gowan hands Emily Crowhurst the World War I-era mes­sage-in-a-bot­tle writ­ten by her fa­ther, which Mr Gowan found in the River Thames.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON HOR­RELL

Farewell cen­te­nar­ian: Emily Crowhurst on her 100th birth­day in Au­gust 2012.

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