My close friend Andy Newman, who has died aged 56, was a group leader who designed an award-profitable public garden on disused land. From those environmentally friendly shoots he and his companion, Karen Clark, galvanised community individuals in the network of north London roadways recognised as Harringay Gardens to combat again in opposition to air pollution, site visitors and urban blight, bringing greenery and cooperation to our neighbourhood.

In 1996, when Andy and Karen moved to the space, there was on their doorstep a derelict patch of land top to a railway arch. When an entrance to the now-demolished Harringay stadium on the other facet of the tracks, the land experienced come to be a dumping floor for previous automobiles and other garbage, and a criminal offense hotspot.

Andy later recalled assembly an aged neighbour who experienced “peered out of her bedroom window as a younger woman and viewed cows currently being herded under the railway arch to graze at the area watercress farm … We had just begun a young spouse and children and this image gave us the determination to bring the land again into normal use.”

That is accurately what Andy and Karen, each eager gardeners, did, with trademark tenacity and wiliness, as well as a package deal of govt funding channelled into the wider space, which at the time had seen a startling maximize in gang violence.

Crucial to the garden’s success was the simultaneous formation of a neighborhood group, the Gardens Inhabitants Affiliation, which began reworking the streets by way of the planting of trees, initiatives to curtail fly-tipping and crime, and the reduction of heavy targeted traffic which had long blighted the space. Six roads turned what would these days be termed a low visitors neighbourhood, provoking, then as now, polarising and effective opinions. The result was fast – devoid of 1000’s of automobiles a day chopping as a result of, a shortcut turned a community once again, nearly overnight.

In 2002, thanks to Andy, it got a local community centre to connect with its possess – albeit one with no a roof. The community yard continues to be a second of natural beauty and respite in a dense urban setting, stocked with amazing crops now in their prime – which include a number of of Andy’s a great deal-favoured huge echium.

The yard, which raises all its own cash, hosts outdoor film screenings, Halloween activities, egg hunts and Xmas gatherings. It has spawned a productive “play streets” initiative, and many other spouse and children- and character-concentrated functions. It has stretched out its roots into the regional streets for two a long time trees, bulbs and shrubs flourish where once there ended up none. 
The yard is open up to everybody and will rejoice its 20th anniversary in September.

The association has been no considerably less thriving, profitable more than 40 community and countrywide awards. Both of those residents’ affiliation and backyard garden had been turbo-charged by Andy’s know-how, really hard do the job and resilience. His legacy is all all-around his pals and neighbours, and will not be neglected.

Andy was born in Exeter, Devon, the youngest of 3 sons of Irene (nee Pye), a care assistant, and Lewis, a shoemaker. Following leaving Clyst Vale neighborhood higher education, he researched interior design and style at South Devon School of Arts and Engineering, and 3D style and design at Suffolk University of Increased and Further more Schooling. He was a freelance artist and designer for most of his doing the job everyday living till joining Southwark council in 2013.

He is survived by Karen and their kids, Amber and Jasper, and by his brother Peter. Yet another brother, David, predeceased him.