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Popular Hackney vendor and arts mainstay Kevin Headley has passed away

Tributes are pouring in for the seller, who has died aged 52

Figures from across London’s underground arts scene and readers have come together to pay respect to much-loved Big Issue vendor Kevin Headley, who has passed away.

The 52-year-old who sold the magazine outside Hackney Wick overground station for many years died on May 5 after suffering a suspected heart attack.

He was well-known across London for his tireless work supporting homeless charities and curating local arts events and festivals as well as selling The Big Issue.

A vigil took place on his pitchfrom 5pm to 9pm on May 8 to allow readers and those who knew him to celebrate his life.

Kevin had a big impact on The Big Issue in his years as a vendor and was the man responsible for introducing our charitable arm, The Big Issue Foundation, to street artist Stik, resulting in a wildly successful team-up that saw exclusively designed posters sold by vendors.

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He also graduated as a Homeless Health Peer Advocate in 2015, provided by charity Groundswell, allowing him to help homeless people access healthcare as well as sitting on the Q and A panel for the Foundation’s Sleep Out and joining in The Big London Night Walk too.

A memorial service will be held to remember Kevin from 1-2pm on June 14 at St Andrew’s Centre in Brockley, south-east London, with a wake to continue celebrating his life taking place at nearby Livesey Memorial Hall in Perry Hall from 3pm to 11pm.

Stephen Robertson, CEO of the Big Issue Foundation, said: “Kevin was much-loved and a very popular figure in the community and the arts, who was constantly trying to play his part and show a different way of doing things.

“He was very proactive in the underground arts scene and was always keen to giving something back and come up with good ideas with a passion as well as campaigning to raise awareness for people who are homeless or disadvantaged.

“He went above and beyond.”

Kevin’s love of the arts saw him get heavily involved in The Big Issue Foundation’s Big Noise Festival as well as host of festivals in Crystal Palace, Hackney and Shoreditch. Away from the big shows, he even arranged for DJs and bands that he met on his pitch to perform at a food donation drive for homeless people at a local cafe in 2016.

Our much loved and respected friend and colleague Kevin Headley died on Saturday morning of a heart attack. It's…

Posted by The Pavement magazine on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

He also threw his weight behind homeless micro-festival It’s Nearly Friday and London’s Wicked Radio and co-curated monthly open mic event Bring It at Hackney venue Grow. The latest event will be held in tribute to Kevin on May 10 as well as raising money for his family.

“Like many of us, the team at Grow are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of friend and colleague, Kevin Headley,” said a statement from Grow. “If you hadn’t met Kevin, he was a remarkable man who dedicated his life helping others from all walks of life, in so many different ways and in many different places all over London – including his tireless effort in helping those experiencing homelessness.”

Like many of us, the team at Grow are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of friend and colleague, Kevin Headley….

Posted by Grow, Hackney on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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