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Dawn Ibbotson – Saint Clair Matriarch

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                             
February 2020
Dawn Ibbotson the amazing matriarch of Saint Clair passed away peacefully 13th January 2020.  While it is always sad when loved one’s pass, Saint Clair also celebrate the amazing life she had. Living to the amazing age of 105 while still enjoying a daily glass of fine wine is an incredible achievement.

Celebrating her 105th birthday in December, Dawn herself made the comment that she has “lived a good life”. Being born just after World War 1 had started and lived more than a century she certainly had seen the change over time. She managed to keep up with technology even having a mobile phone and texting beyond her 100th birthday.

Dawn Ibbotson is Neal Ibbotson’s (Saint Clair founder and Company Director) mother. Dawn was the driving inspiration behind the creation of the Dawn bubbles. Based on positivity, generosity, dedication to the community, uncompromising values and a desire to be her best.

A service of celebration for the life of Dawn was held at First Church Dunedin Wednesday 15th January where all of Dawn’s children were present, all but one of the grandchildren were there as well as plenty of greatgrandchildren – along with many more friends and family. First Church was a place very special to Dawn, being part of the congregation there for 67 years. Dawn joined with a large group of women (of whom only three still live) who spent an astounding seven years sewing the First Church history tapestry. It can be seen today proudly displayed on the inside of the church.

Dawn had around 30 groups and interests which she gave unstintingly of her time, energy, wisdom, enthusiasm and talents. After having her three children she became involved with Plunket, and this led on to her joining National Council of Women  – the start of a 75-year contribution, including life membership, serving on the national and international boards, representing the NCW on a number of government boards, and travelling to international conferences in Vienna, Vancouver and Seoul.

The Dunedin Branch of the National Council of Women has established an annual Dawn Ibbotson Essay Competition for secondary pupils in honour of Dawn, so her name will live on.

Dawn’s extensive contribution to education included being on the Arthur Street School Committee, the King Edward Technical College Board, and the Otago Polytechnic Council. She was nominated by the Minister of Education as the first woman on the Dunedin Teachers’ College Council, where she served 14 years. This amazing woman was also on the Knox College Council, becoming deputy chairman. 

Many knew Dawn as the ‘flower lady’ as she home-made cards using pressed flowers from her very own garden. This started seriously in the 1980s as a way to raise money for Amnesty and NCW. Incredibly Dawn raised over $70 000 for about 30 charities, the Hospice being a favourite recipient in later years.  In 2011, at the age of 97, she was out on the street collecting for Amnesty International annual collection. An amazing feat!

Known to always have her “glass half full” we raise a glass of Saint Clair Dawn bubbles and remember Dawn and the amazing life that she lived.