Much-loved Hackney Big Issue seller honoured with plaque

Kevin Headley has been immortalised with a blue plaque

Kevin Headley has been immortalised with a blue plaque - Credit: Teddy Baden

Street artists installed a blue plaque on Sunday in the name of a widely-loved Big Issue seller on a new commemorative wall celebrating his memory.

Kevin Headley, who passed away from a heart attack in 2018 at 52, regularly sold the magazine at the same spot outside of Hackney Wick railway station and was known in the area for his work helping those in vulnerable situations. 

Tizer created this mural for Kevin Headley

Tizer created this mural for Kevin Headley - Credit: Tizer

The memorial wall for Headley was curated over the past three months by street artist Teddy Baden who was commissioned to decorate the outside walls of the recently reopened Lord Napier Star pub in Hackney. 

Teddy said: “This memorial is to pay tribute to an amazing 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 would help vulnerable people get off the street and organised spoken word and poetry nights 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 wouldn’t do anything for fame or fortune, but was a real grassroots person who helped people who really needed it - he focused on the community and was down-to-earth Mother Teresa style!”

Baden commissioned ceramic artist 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 across London - itself referencing the English Heritage blue plaques.

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Teddy said: “Our friend Erik Perera came up with the inscription for this one: "Kevin Headley, advocate for the invisible". Kevin noticed people who are unseen and trodden and he wouldn’t just walk by them.”

Reichardt said: “Really lovely to be asked to create a new blue plaque for an everyday hero.

“Kevin is sorely missed and will always be remembered.”

Baden had previously organised for street artist Tizer to paint the mural of Headley in July.

Reflecting on the mural on his Instagram, Tizer said: “Kev was truly loved by the local community, so it was an honour to be asked to immortalise him.

“Lots of people thanked me walking past or told me nice stories of how much they liked or miss him.”

Kevin Headley's memorial wall can be seen on the Lord Napier Star pub by Hackney Wick Overground station.

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