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Repatriation of the Grandin Gingko tree from the former JCG site

Since Jersey College for Girls opened its doors in 1888, there has been countless numbers of former pupils who have developed into remarkable individuals and have become an inspiration to current students at the school.

One former pupil at Jersey College for Girls (JCG), Lilian Grandin, born in St Helier in 1876, became Jersey’s first female Doctor. Lilian departed Jersey for China as a Methodist missionary, where she met and married a journalist Edwin John Dingle. Unfortunately, at the young age of 48 years, Lilian passed away of typhus in 1924 after setting up a clinic and leper colony in Yunan province.

Lilian died in Zhoutong after giving her last typhus medicine to a local patient in southwest China and was known as ‘The Angel of Zhoutong’. Today, Lilian is still celebrated in Zhoutong for her sacrifice and the hospital she established is now thriving. Dr Grandin ran the hospital in the early 1920’s and today, the hospital has expanded to include 2000 inpatient beds, 2000 staff members and the hospital cares for 60,000 patients a year.

As Lilian Grandin was such a formidable former pupil of the College, a Gingko tree (a Chinese fern) was planted at the rear of the former JCG site, approximately 30 years ago in memory of Lilian, as a commemorative gesture to this remarkable lady.

Due to the current re-development of the former JCG site into residential apartments - College Gardens, it was not possible to retain the tree in its current location. After much deliberation on how we could preserve something so precious to JCG in Lilian’s memory, it was decided to engage with Bernard Rebours at Belle Fleurs Nursery. In the Autumn of 2014 the Belles Fleurs team exposed the root system and identified the sapling had its own root system where it could continue growing by itself. The sapling was removed from the original tree and containerised for 12 months. It was then brought back to leaf during the next growing season ready for replanting.

We are delighted the Gingko sapling is now safely planted at the JCG Mont Millais campus for many generations of students to enjoy in memory of such a formidable lady.

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