He passed away on 30 August with his family by his side.
The Kent-based bedding and pot plant grower had many years service for the industry and NFU.
He 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.
L.Mills is a fourth generation family business that has been a mainstay at New Covent Garden Market since the 1920s. The business is continuing to be run by Ian Mills.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: "We are incredibly saddened by this news 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 & Flowers Committee and in 2013 he stepped down after three decades of representing the interests of growers in Europe where he had been a long-serving member of both the European Commission’s advisory committee on ornamentals, and the flowers and plants working party at European farmers’ organisation Copa. Lionel was known for his thoughtfulness and generosity and he will be sadly missed."
AIPH secretary general Tim Briercliffe said: "Members of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) from all over the world have expressed their sadness at the news of the death of Lionel Mills. I have received emails from many countries following this announcement as members have shared their fond memories of Lionel. Lionel was a passionate ambassador for British ornamental horticulture at the international level. He represented the UK, on behalf of 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 AIPH 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. Lionel stepped down from AIPH in 2013 as his health deteriorated and members had the opportunity to formally say goodbye to him and present him with a gift to show their appreciation during the 2014 AIPH Spring Meeting held in London. In a work unseen by many in the UK Lionel flew the flag proudly for British horticulture and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."
Details for Lionel Mills' funeral on Friday 23 September 2016:
Service at 12.00
St Marys Horton Kirby
Service at 13:15
Crown Woods Way
Refreshments at 14.00 onwards
The Fighting Cocks
Leverton Funeral Service
4 Kent Rd,
An idea if you will be attending will be greatly appreciated to help with catering. Replies to Ian Mills 07768903842 firstname.lastname@example.org
See Horticulture Week next issue for a fuller obituary.