Street artists installed a blue plaque Sunday in the name of a much-loved Big Issue salesman on a new memorial wall celebrating his memory.
Kevin Headley, who died of a heart attack in 2018 at 52, regularly sold the magazine at the same location outside Hackney Wick train station and was known in the area for his work in helping them in vulnerable situations.
The memorial wall for Headley was curated over the past three months by street artist Teddy Baden, who was commissioned to decorate the exterior walls of the newly reopened Lord Napier Star pub in Hackney.
Teddy said: “This memorial is to pay tribute to a wonderful person who is no longer with us and is sorely missed. Kevin was a really nice guy, he always had a smile on his face and spoke to everyone.
“He wanted to help vulnerable people get out of the street and organized spoken words and poetry evenings at Grow Studios in Hackney where they could perform – he harnessed their creativity, which was a very powerful thing because art can really help those who are in difficult situations.
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“Kevin didn’t want to do anything for fame or fortune, but was a real grassroots person who helped people who really needed it — he focused on society and was down-to-earth Mother Teresa-style!”
Baden commissioned ceramist Carrie Reichardt to install the blue plaque for Headley on Sunday, inspired by her alternative “English hedonists” blue plaque project, examples of which can be found throughout London – even referring to the English cultural heritage blue plaques.
Teddy said: “Our friend Erik Perera came up with the caption for this one: ‘Kevin Headley, Advocate for the Invisible.’
Reichardt said: “Really nice to be asked to make a new blue plaque for an everyday hero.
“Kevin is greatly missed and will always be remembered.”
Baden had previously organized street artist Tizer to paint the mural of Headley in July.
After reflecting on the mural on his Instagram, Tizer said: “Kev was truly loved by the local community, so it was an honor to be asked to immortalize him.
“A lot of people thanked me for passing by or told me great stories about how much they liked or missed him.”
Kevin Headley’s memorial wall can be seen at the Lord Napier Star pub at Hackney Wick Overground station.