Southsayer: Helen Evans, director of business development, New Covent Garden Market

Helen Evans works at New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms, so every day is filled with “flowers, fruit & veg”. Helen …

helen evans cov gdn mkt southsayer

Helen Evans works at New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms, so every day is filled with “flowers, fruit & veg”. Helen grew up in central London, bought her first flat in Brockwell Park, then married and moved north of the river.

“I came to south London 17 years ago and it was like stepping into an alternative universe,” she says.  “Before that I had only known Vauxhall for the NCP car pound, after my car had been towed away from outside my flat in Herne Hill.”

When were you happiest?
When I opened the door of my own flat in Herne Hill – independence at last.

Where would you like to live in south London?
Brunswick House, currently home to Lascos and the Brunswick Cafe.  I’d like both to be there when I’m in residence. The collection of objects would keep me amused for hours – and the food is fabulous.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
The fruit market in soft fruit season.  Ripe strawberries, raspberries together with peaches and melons – it beats even the flower market in daffodil time.

Who is your favourite south Londoner?
Cathy Togher who works for London Community Foundation.  She lives in Lambeth, works for the community and is totally committed to what she does.  One of the few people I’ve met whose work really makes a difference to people’s lives.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Go with your instincts.

What is your earliest south London memory?
Visiting my aunt at the Oval.

What makes you unhappy?
Seeing thoughtlessness – people being rude, dropping litter – forgetting that if we all just chilled out a little, life would be better for everyone.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
More flowers and plants.

What is your guilty pleasure?
The Tea House Theatre, Pleasure Gardens Vauxhall – I eat too much cake.

Where do you hang out (in south London)?
Brunswick Cafe, Tea House Theatre, Bonnington Cafe – you can see that food is important to me.

Who or what do you dislike and why?
Large golf umbrellas – they are too big for one person and get in the way.  Actually I dislike umbrellas as a whole.  Its just golf ones are the worst.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My upper lip – it’s too long!

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
I couldn’t repeat it.

What has your career taught you?
Listen more, give people the time to get to what they’re really bothered about.  It’s not always the first thing they say.

What is your greatest life achievement?
I think that’s still to come.

Describe yourself as an animal,
A black Labrador – loves people, eager to please and doesn’t know when to stop eating.

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