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Brent 2020: Willesden Green photographer launches online exhibition starting with John the Grocer

PUBLISHED: 17:46 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:44 08 May 2020

A Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer serving Dollis Hill for 42 years. Picture: Jude Wacks

A Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer serving Dollis Hill for 42 years. Picture: Jude Wacks

©judewacks2020

An established greengrocer in Dollis Hill is the first subject of a Willesden Green snapper’s online exhibition.

A Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer with partner Denise Bertholidi. Picture: Jude WacksA Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer with partner Denise Bertholidi. Picture: Jude Wacks

Jude Wacks has launched A Lifetime’s Work on Instagram, which celebrates diverse family businesses in the borough.

The photographic project has been commissioned by Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture, to be viewed through a screen.

Jude has picked nine independent family businesses which over generations have played a major role in the Brent community and in the wider world.

“The inspiration for this photographic project came from John Gibbons, my local greengrocer, who has stood near Dollis Hill tube station for the last 43 years,” said mum-of-four Jude. “I wanted to share John’s personal story and then showcase the many others within the London Borough of Brent who have dedicated themselves to their family businesses and local communities.”

A Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer with partner Denise Bertholidi. Picture: Jude WacksA Lifetime's Work: John Gibbons the Greengrocer with partner Denise Bertholidi. Picture: Jude Wacks

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She added: “During this difficult time of Covid-19, our local businesses have become even more important to us, literally becoming the only lifeline we can rely on. Others due to their nature since the start of this project have had to temporarily close their doors, but this is maybe a time for us to value those that have serviced our local areas and beyond.”

John, 57, said: “My family worked in the shop for 48 years and I’ve been there 42. I bought it in 1992. It was great years ago, When I came here there were 15 of us from Church Road to Willesden Green Station - and the last one that went was Smiths and Son eight years ago.

“I love the community, I love the people, I’m serving people that have come in my shop every week for 35 years. Now with the virus coming, I’ve got old dears that come in for their pension. I haven’t seen them for 10 weeks.

“We’re delivering. Today I had 15 deliveries for the old boys and girls. The unity is amazing.

“I’ve had 30-40 people I don’t even know come in my shop and say they’ll deliver for me for free. It’s amazing, it’s a catastrophe that brings people together.”

His partner Denise Bertholidi, who first met him in his shop 24 years ago, said: “Maybe more people are going to know about him and appreciate all he does.”

Through Instagram @a_lifetimes_work, (https://www.instagram.com/a_lifetimes_work/)


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