Jazzie B catches up with all the latest news in his favourite paper. Below, left: An ‘honoured’ Jazzie B stands next to his statue. Below, right: Jazzie joined by, from left, Andrew Turton, Islington Council leader Catherine West and Martin Williams
Gillespie and Drayton Park primary school children
Published: 26 April, 2013
by ANDREW JOHNSON
MUSIC legend Jazzie B settled down with his favourite paper on Tuesday after unveiling a statue to himself outside Finsbury Park bus and tube station.
The co-founder of 1980s chart-toppers Soul II Soul – best known for their hit Back to Life – was one of three Islington residents honoured with a portrait bench by the transport charity Sustrans to mark the beginning of a two-mile cycle route from Finsbury Park to Highbury Fields.
Also honoured were health pioneer Florence Keen and suffragette Edith Garrud. Florence Keen founded the Manor Gardens Centre in 1913 – it celebrates its centenary this year – at a time when one in 10 babies was dying from preventable health issues.
Edith Garrud was renowned for teaching ju jitsu to suffragettes to help them in their battles against the police.
All three were chosen by public vote.
Jazzie, who still performs, told the Tribune that the life-size silhouette statue was both a great honour and also a bit embarrassing.
“I grew up around here,” he said. “I used to go to Harvey’s record shop, which is over there. I was born up the road, and I still frequent Parry’s hairdressers.
"Finsbury Park is my park. I never thought anything like this would happen in a million years. It’s a great honour, especially because I’m a Gooner. I come here all the time, but I’ll probably try and avoid the statue, but look at it at the same time, and maybe point it out if I’m with someone.
“It’s a great example though, for young people, so that they know that you can grow up around here and do something.
"Today is a very special day for me. There have been a fair amount of achievements in the last 30 years, but this crowns them all.”
Andrew Turton, who wrote a recent biography of Florence Keen, unveiled her statue. He said that she “wasn’t too proud” to wear a sandwhich board outside the Manor Gardens Centre, off Holloway Road, near Archway, to encourage young mothers to drop in.
The family of Edith Garrud were also on hand to unveil their relative’s statue. Her great-nephew Martin Williams said: “She was a suffragette
and was able to teach suffragettes how to defend themselves.”
The cycle route links Highbury Fields, Gillespie Park and Finsbury Park together. It was paid for by Sustrans and the work was carried out by Islington Council.
After the event, Jazzie visited Gillespie Park where Gillespie and Drayton Park primary school children had created a mural with the artist Sophie Rigg.