Family seeks information on medal

Lesley Soper gives the 1909 medal, found in the family's archives, to her cousin Eric Soper. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO

AN INVERCARGILL historian is on the hunt for answers about a medal found in her family’s archives.

Lesley Soper is a member of one of Southland’s largest families – Sopers, who have had a book published about their family history.

Her cousin Caroline Soper recently found a medal which was given to Charles Edwin Soper in 1909 by the community of Garston and Athol.

Ms Soper said Charles was one of William Davis and Hannah Soper’s 16 children.

The medal given to Charles Soper in November 1909 by Garston Athol Friends. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO

“Charles was a brother of my grandfather George and Alfred, Caroline’s grandfather.

“Charles and Alfred Soper were very good friends. They were very musical and both worked as gold miners for their entire lives. They were very close brothers.

“We think Charles, at some stage, gave the medal to Alfred for safe keeping but both died and we don’t know the story.”

Ms Soper took the medal to a jeweller and, after being tumbled, she gave the medal to Charles’ grandson Eric Soper, who celebrated his birthday this month.

“It stayed unnoticed for a number of years until Caroline found it this year, just in time for Eric’s birthday – so it all worked out pretty well.

“The medal is quite something and it is coming back to Charles’ family.”

Eric was very happy with the gift.

“It is good, isn’t it? Something I did not know about him [the grandfather]. It is the perfect present.”

  • The family is asking for anyone who may have information about the medal to get in touch with Ms Soper by email at

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