L Mills, a fourth-generation family business that has been at New Covent Garden Market since the 1920s, is continuing to be run by Ian Mills.
Lionel Mills began service with the NFU in Kent in the early 1970s and served as vice-president of the NFU commission advisory group for ornamentals and vice-chairman of European farmers' organisation Copa-Cogeca Ornamentals, having represented the interests of NFU members in Europe since 1981.
Following the news of Mills' death, NFU president Meurig Raymond said: "We are incredibly saddened and our thoughts go out to Lionel's family and friends. Lionel Mills has been an ambassador for the ornamentals sector and promoted the cause of growers for many years, and his record speaks for itself. After beginning his NFU career in the 1970s as branch chairman of the north-west Kent growers group he subsequently became a key member of the NFU glasshouse and flowers committee, and in 2013 he stepped down after three decades of representing the interests of growers in Europe. Lionel was known for his thoughtfulness and generosity, and he will be sadly missed."
International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) secretary-general Tim Briercliffe added: "I have received emails from many countries following this announcement as AIPH members have shared their fond memories of Lionel. He was a passionate ambassador for British ornamental horticulture at the international level.
"He represented the UK, on behalf of the NFU for many years and was also an active member of its executive committee that oversaw the work of the association. One of the highlights of his work with AIPH was when he organised the annual congress in Brighton in 2007. He worked hard to ensure that horticultural industry representatives from all over the world were able to see the very best of UK horticulture."