Local Gems

In our community, there are people every day who go above and beyond and may not get any sort of recognition. We are proud to salute these unsung heroes!

In 2018 our Local Gems awards are sponsored by:

Kay and Kompany: Headed up by Kay Eracleous, this fabulous hair and beauty salon has won many awards over the years.  Kay is a huge supporter of our community events.

Becky Beach Magazines: A household name in North London, we often find ourselves glancing through the Muswell Flyer (or in other guises like Crouch End Connections).  Becky is extremely generous with her time, marketing knowledge and energy.



Our 2018 worthy winners are:

Bill Jago and Jack WhiteheadBill Jago and Jack Whitehead are Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association’s Anti Graffiti Team. When the team was set up in 2004, Muswell Hill Broadway was covered with graffiti and flyposting. Using materials supplied by Haringey, the team cleared the Broadway and has since been doing a weekly patrol to keep things under control. Small items of graffiti and flyposting are removed and larger ones are reported to the council, which over the years has provided an efficient service.

Please help with keeping your area clean and tidy by reporting to Haringey any graffiti, flyposting, dumped rubbish, potholes, litter etc that you see. You can phone the switchboard on 020 8489 0000 or use the Haringey website. On the homepage go to the “Report It” section and follow the links.


local gem winnerAnnie Morris – Head of St James Village Neighbourhood group, social activist, music and art Patron.  Annie is also organising the first-ever Festival of Dyslexic Culture which will take place at London Metropolitan University on 8th November.

The St James’ Village Neighbourhood has come together over the years to put on street parties, New Year’s Eve and Jubilee parties for all residents; campaigned for a community garden, trees, new street lighting, paving changes; to amend planning applications and support residents; and we are still actively seeking a solution to the traffic cut-through on our little roads; we are a lovely, friendly, diverse little community just off the Broadway with thriving independent businesses such as the Bonafide Studios and the vet in the arches.



Lib Dem councillorsThese fabulous awards will be presented by Lib Dem Councillor Julia Ogiehor



Local Gems presenter


Our 2017 Local Gems awards were presented by Nitin Ganatra, best known for his role in Eastenders as Masood Ahmed.

Here are the worthy winners!

John Hajdu

John has lived in Muswell Hill for 42 years and has been married for 45. He has a son and a daughter and four grandchildren.

John has been chair of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green association for 17 years and for the latest achievements of the Association you can read his May  AGM report on their website (www.mhfga.org).

John is also vice chair of the North London University of 3rd Age and was chair of the Metropolitan police Fortis Green Safer Neighbourhood panel  for ten years. He was a magistrate for 15 years.

He was named Haringey Hero by Haringey Council in July 2016.

He has written two books: the history of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association and his life story, entitled Life in two countries, which is available on the web.

Jon Gregg & Rose

Local Gems Rose and Jon

I have been selling the Big Issue in Muswell Hill for eight years, My partner Jon joined me after one year. We are grateful that we have been been welcomed into the community. Selling the Big issue is just part of what we do when we are on our pitches, we are local tourist guides, social workers and help people with their shopping. The best part of the job for me is being able to look after dogs while their owners shop. “People worry because dogs do get stolen. But the owners know they can leave them with me and I will make a fuss of them. I have also been known to do knitting commissions.

Jon is known in the community for playing the guitar and appeared with a band at last years’ Midsummer Muswell (in the rain!) and has also rehearsed at Bonafide Studios and plays sometimes at St James Church Community Cafe on a Tuesday morning.

St James have a lot of involvement with the homeless, including helping to run the Soup Kitchen 5 days a week most of the year round and also a Winter Night Shelter

George Karageorgis

George and the Clissold Arms

George Karageorgis who was well known for his charismatic character built the Clissold Arms into a hub of the North London Community. He also worked very closely different charities such as  The Harrington Scheme & Mind as both meant a lot to him.


Although he is no longer with us, he lives in our hearts, and we were truly touched that he has won the Local Gem Award 2017.

Gill Simpson

Gill Simpson

As a guitar-playing granny, I love being involved in the pre-school community programme at Muswell Hill Methodist Church, and especially getting everyone singing together.  Muswell Hill is a great place to live – but can also be very lonely for new parents living far from family and friends.  So opportunities for meeting with others in the same boat can really help in enjoying and gaining confidence in this new world.

We see hundreds of under 3’s from ‘bumps’ upwards each week – coming in for our baby and toddler groups, for Health Visitor or Midwife clinics, for groups run by independent providers, or just to drop in and play.  North Bank (our adjoining ‘church hall’) is a surviving mid-Victorian villa: now refurbished for church and community, it makes a lovely nurturing base for activities that can also spill out into the gardens.  It’s a privilege to share with the rich diversity of families at this stage in their lives – and lovely to have impromptu catch-ups in unexpected places in subsequent years!

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, best known as Muswell Hill’s Chewing Gum man creates tiny works of art by painting chewing gum stuck to the pavement.

People crowd around Wilson when he works and he has been praised by passersby. He has become a local celebrity as his work has chronicled the changes in the neighbourhood. Ben has a large book where he keeps backlogged requests for paintings, such as births and deaths, marriages or some other personal commemoration. He does not charge for gum painting requests, a word he prefers to use over “commissions”.


Muswell Hill Local Gems of 2016 are:

1. Peter Thompson


Since 1997 Peter has been running a free legal advice service, which has grown from nothing to about 500 cases a year.

St James’s Church makes its premises available for drop-in sessions two mornings a week and, on other days, he runs sessions at Wilton Community Church and the Salvation Army Centre in Wood Green.
Customers come from all over the borough, and beyond, and he also deals with email inquiries, mostly from overseas, regarding immigration.

Peter is assisted by a growing band of volunteers, including law students from Middlesex University. No one is paid and no one is charged. Everybody wins.


2. PC Sharon Rogers


“I have been the Dedicated Ward Officer for Muswell Hill for the last 3/half years, I am committed to doing my best for the residents/workers and visitors of Muswell Hill. I enjoy getting out and about in the Community, meeting new people and making a difference to the lives of the community. Working together can really make a difference, even the smallest of things. I work alongside local authorities, housing associations and other partners to tackle and solve community issues which are a range of quality-of-life issues. I honestly love my job and love the community I serve. Being a Ward Officer allows me to really get to the heart of issues or concerns and it gives me the time to tackle long term problem solving”. My motto is ‘knowledge is power’.

I am passionate about dogs, I have a rescue dog called Poppy from a Cyprus shelter, she came over to me at 15 weeks, she has just turned 2. Outside of work I love nothing more than taking Poppy for a walk, either to the fields or the sea. Being a Labrador cross she loves the water. Nothing makes me happier than to watch her enjoy her life, which is a world away from the life she would have had”. @MPSMuswellHill

3. Kay Eracleous


Kay runs  Kay & Ko hair and beauty salon, she is a mother, animal lover and great community activist. Due to Kay and her team’s passion, commitment and dedication, Kay and Kompany Salon won Two London Hair and Beauty Awards in October 2015 for; ‘North London Hair Salon of the Year’ And ‘North London Team/Service of the Year’! Over the years, Kay has cut and styled many celebrities hair, including top notch musos but she remains grounded, humble and always grateful for everyone’s business. Kay is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Her social media etiquette, ongoing support of fellow small businesses and her community is to be applauded for. 

4. Roger Ward


Roger is not just running  Feast Deli and Catering (an independent deli and catering business based in Muswell Hill), head of Muswell Hill and Haringey Trading Group, he is also a drummer of Muswell Hill Exchange Band.

Roger serves on countless committees, a man who could easily be described as “the volunteers’ volunteer”, working tirelessly to help Muswell Hill community and its traders.  

5. WMartyn

W Martyn

W Martyn is a traditional and old-fashioned family business, established in 1897 and still going strong. As specialists in tea and coffee and retailers of fine foods, Martyn’s now bring quality products to your door across the UK with our online tea and coffee shop. While you may not be able to visit us and experience the quaint ambience of our shop, you can still appreciate the fine quality of our own packaged teas and shop-roasted coffee wherever you may live. If you live in London though, then please take a trip to visit us, where you will always be welcome.

With over 100 years of retail experience, you are guaranteed to receive the highest quality of service and products. From your morning cup of tea or coffee to that special gift for family or friends, you’ll find a wealth of choice at W Martyn of Muswell Hill.

 “Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.”