Above: Michelle, centre, with her family, Sarah, Andy and Katie; and, below, with Andy
Published: 3 February, 2017
by JOE COOPER
TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman described as the “beating heart of Highbury Barn”.
Michelle Lovell, 56, owner of the popular Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocer and To Be Established, was loved by family, friends and fellow shopkeepers for her boundless energy, warmth and generous spirit.
She passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer.
Michelle, one of four sisters, grew up on the Mersey estate in Liverpool Road and attended St Mary Magdelene and Barnsbury School for Girls.
She worked as an apprentice hairdresser and at Islington Council before meeting her partner Andy Georgiou while working at Russell Hume.
The couple then moved to Highbury Hill, where Michelle spent the rest of her life.
Extremely organised and motivated, Michelle owned the gift shop To Be Established, in Highbury Park, before taking over the nearby grocers and making it her own in 2009.
Michelle was a skilled gardener and loved to help her wide circle of friends, including Gianna Cinalli, with their gardens.
“She had the most energy in everything she did,” said Ms Cinalli. “She made things happen. She would have everyone running doing things, while doing it herself as well. She was such a generous person, materially and with her time. Michelle was so giving.”
Mrs Lovell’s was always well presented, and Michelle was known to rush around the other shops, the Highbury Barn pub and local schools and help them out with seasonal decorations.
“She really was the beating heart of Highbury Barn and the place will be sadder without her,” Ms Cinalli added.
Former Islington Council leader and Highbury resident Terry Stacy said: “Michelle Lovell was one of those people I will never forget, she was always friendly, welcoming, helpful and her generosity knew no bounds.
“She was someone who put others before herself, a community spirited neighbour who never sought praise for what she did.”
Michelle’s sister, Lesley, said: “Whatever Michelle did she would make a success of it – there were no half measures.
“She was at the centre of the community but also the centre of her family.
“She was passionate about her family and friends and was always helping others, and she was the life and soul of the party.”
Michelle survived a bout of breast cancer in the mid-2000s and afterwards organised Paint Highbury Pink to raise money for breast cancer charities. The first event in 2007 raised £250. The final fundraiser, held in the square in Highbury Barn in 2014, raised £10,000.
Michelle’s cancer returned around that time and she became unable to continue fundraising, but friends plan to hold the event again in October this year as a tribute to her.
Michelle is survived by her partner Andy, daughters Katie and Sarah and grandchildren Darci and Alfie, along with the rest of her family.
Her funeral will take place at noon on Thursday February 9, at Christ Church, Highbury.