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Artist gives the Angel boat a brush-up

21 September, 2018 — By Brittany O'Neill, Rory Cameron, Samantha Booth


The traditional paintings on a famous Islington community canal boat are getting a spruce.

Every year thousands of young people and disadvantaged local groups are taken on trips, including to the countryside via Regent’s Canal.

Artist Sophie Harris- Greenslade is repainting the “roses and castles” on the Angel II Boat at the City Road Lock.

The 30-year old, who is the granddaughter- in-law of Paul Wallis, who skippered the Angel boat for 20 years, said: “The traditional narrowboat paintings went into disrepair so I sanded it off and I’m painting over the top.

“I want to keep it in keeping with the rest of the boat as there are so many beautiful roses and castles. I hope I can do them justice.”

The boat trust has been offering the trips since 1976 and onboard has 12 bunk beds, two toilets and a shower. Current skipper Phil Gavigan, who has been involved in community boating since the 1970s, said: “Trips on the boat  encourage team work, important life skills as well as being respite from the inner city life.” The trust relies on grants and donations to keep operating. To donate visit


Prize blooms for young gardeners

Yasmin and Seth Campbell tending their flowers

Two green-fingered school- children who used their own pocket money to brighten up their Upper Holloway street have won an award. Yasmin and Seth Campbell have been tending to the flowers and herbs they bought and planted in a tree pit outside their home in Fairbridge Road. Their mother, Moerida Belton, said she is “extremely proud” of her two children, who have become local celebrities since receiving the Special Discretionary Award at the Islington in Bloom contest last week.

Ms Belton, 44, said she and her partner Alex Campbell were “novice gardeners” but family activities inspired 11-year-old Yasmin, who attends North London Collegiate School, and eight-year-old Hereward House School pupil Seth.

She said: “Yasmin and Seth came with me to the garden centre and chose all the herbs and flowers themselves from the reduced section. Many of these plants were on their last legs, but thanks to their care they have been rejuvenated.”

The annual Islington in Bloom competition, organised by Islington Council and Islington Gardeners, gave awards in 18 categories. Other winners included Holloway for the best ward, Hopping Lane claimed the best-tended street, St Luke’s Community Centre took the community centre garden category and Penn Road Gardens was awarded the title of best community park.



What’s brewing at the Green Shop?

Damir on the late shift at Green Shop with his new barista


Shop owner Suleyman Damir fears for what might happen to his business after Pret popped up a few doors along, less than six months after he opened a new coffee stand extension.

Damir, who has been in charge of running the Green Shop in Upper Street next to Highbury and Islington station for 15 years, invested £30,000 to expand his small groceries store. “Our customers asked us for good coffee and fresh juice – so that is what they got. We genuinely care about our customers and we do everything we can to keep their interests as our top priority”, he said. Damir and his two siblings work tirelessly in the family-run business to juggle keeping up with stock demands and ensuring they have an environmentally- friendly approach, while also having to be cautious of costs. “Business has been really tough since Brexit but we have listened to what our customers wanted and decided to take a risk… Pret appearing gave us added stress that we didn’t need”, said Damir.

He explained that “Green shop” was a nickname used by local children. “I noticed that all of our customers kept calling us that, so I thought why not listen to the customers and change our name? Our customers are the top priority – they are always right”, said Damir.

Despite Pret dampening spotlight on the opening of their new coffee venture, staff at the Green Shop remain enthusiastic. “Not only do we have the freshest, top-quality coffee in the area but we are genuinely friendly and that can be rare to find when it comes to business,” said Damir.

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