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Illustrator documents Angel Canal Festival

08 September, 2017 — By Emily Finch

One of James Mayhew’s quick illustrations from the Angel Canal Festival 

AN illustrator from Hertfordshire popped down to the Angel Canal Festival on Saturday to paint the goings-on for a new book about an adventurous urban fox. James Mayhew, 53, is illustrating a book written by broadcaster and Canonbury resident Zeb Soanes about the intrepid and friendly Gaspard. The fox visits the festival in Zeb’s tale, which is inspired by his real-life friendship with a regular visitor to his front garden who greets him on his way home from work, often bringing his entire bushy-tailed family along. “The visit was inspiring,” says James who first met Zeb a few years ago while collaborating on a project about the composer Benjamin Britten. “I have to say, I was stuck before going, having to imagine it all from the words. It’s hard to create images. I wanted to see movement and colours. Sketching from life makes all the difference.” James used water- colour pencils to come up with some quick sketches of the City Road Basin, where the festival was held, and masterfully drew musicians, bridges and boats.
“I liked it. It was a mix of really traditional stuff – a Punch and Judy show, vintage stalls and cakes,” he says. “I loved the music and different sounds. There was a vibrant family atmosphere – it felt really, really genuine.” James and Zeb’s book Gaspard the Fox is set to be published next May. To find out more go to:

Savvas Pannas founder of The Pilion Trust 

A HOUSING charity is partnering with a church in Archway to offer migrants and refugees support and home-cooked food from next Thursday. St Andrew’s in Whitehall Park will open its doors to those who cannot easily access government support because of their undocumented status. Savvas Pannas, founder of housing charity The Pilion Trust, said he wanted to create a “village” atmosphere at his new service. “There will be tea and coffee in the morning, activities, and English as a second language classes,” says Savvas. “We’ll all cook and all eat together. There won’t be any sandwiches.”
There will also be a play area for youngsters, so mothers can feel comfortable dropping by. “I visited migrant services and felt there needed to be something more holistic and empowering in approach,” he says. “The current services are lovely, but people just sit and wait to be fed. Why don’t we get them in the kitchen? Because you’re undocumented doesn’t mean you’re useless. The drop-in will boost self-esteem.” Savvas said the service was the brainchild of Gloria from St Andrew’s, who came to him with the idea. Funding for the project, which will run every Thursday from 10am to 1pm comes from the Co-operative shop in Archway.  It will initially run for six months as a trial, but could run for longer if successful. Find out at: www.

Sunnie de Pass during last year’s dog agility course at Whittington Park 

WELL-BEHAVED hounds will be rewarded with treats and trophies this Saturday as the Dog Olympics rolls into Whittington Park. The games, which tests agility and obedience, are organised by Archway dog trainer Sunnie de Pass. She aims to raise funds for a new drinking water fountain in the park. “The games will demonstrate the dog’s ability,” says Sunnie. “Their personalities will shine through as will the involvement between the human and dog.” The games will consist of three classes – catch the ball, hunt the smelly sock, and agility and obedience.
The top three winners will be rewarded with a rosette and a mini trophy. For hunt the smelly sock, owners will hold one sock while their dog seeks out its pair through scent alone. Don’t worry, owners are allowed to sneak cheese or chicken into the sock to ensure their pooch stays interested. “I’m excited – I’ve got a jumbly belly. People are saying, ‘see you on Saturday’ and that they are looking forward to it,” says Sunnie.
Sunnie says she hopes to get around seven dogs taking part in each game and there will be dog trainers on hand offering tips on how owners can improve their dog’s obedience. She said she was inspired to run the dog olympics at this years Big Day Out festival in the park after she successfully ran some informal agility courses for dogs at last year’s festival.
To find out how to enter your dog email Sunnie at


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