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Artist community pays tribute to late Big Issue seller with memorial on his old patch

The creative community in Hackney Wick, east London, has honoured late Big Issue seller Kevin Headley with a mural and plaque on his old patch.

A memorial to a Big Issue seller who died in 2018 has been unveiled on his old patch in east London.

A mural, an “English Hedonists” blue plaque and a photo of Kevin Headley now take pride of place on the wall of the Lord Napier Star pub next to Hackney Wick rail station.

Street artist Teddy Baden had been asked by the owners of the pub to curate a mural on the outside wall and he chose to honour Kevin, a much-loved community figure who died of a heart attack aged 52.

“I felt Kevin needed to be represented here and it’s a lovely and fitting that he’s still stood there for us to remember him,” Baden told The Big Issue.

The memorial to Big Issue seller Kevin Headley in Hackney Wick. Image: Teddy Baden
The memorial to Big Issue seller Kevin Headley in Hackney Wick. Image: Teddy Baden

“He was such an approachable guy. He was softly spoken and friendly and always had time for you.”

The giant mural was created in a day by Tizer, a street artist and friend of Baden’s. Baden also asked Carrie Reichardt to create a blue plaque, inspired by her alternative “English Hedonists” project, a take on the English Heritage plaques.

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The inscription, by their friend Erik Perera, reads: “Kevin Headley – Advocate of the invisible. Stood here. He brought us together.”

Kevin was a well-known figure to the Hackney Wick creative community and also organised spoken word events in the area.

“It was a platform for people to express themselves,” Baden added. “He encouraged people to talk about things they were going through in their lives, which helped a lot of people.”

Jordanna Greaves, director of Grow, also paid tribute to Kevin. She told The Big Issue: “The plaque is testimony to how Kevin’s legacy lives on in Hackney Wick and how people continue to remember him and are inspired by him.

“He was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to helping others from all walks of life and we continue to remember him fondly at Grow through our memories of his time here with his smiling photo above our bar.”

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