The London Evening Standard journalist who led an appeal to replant 250,000 trees uprooted in the capital by the Great Storm of 1987 has been honoured with a memorial plaque at a ceremony supported by the London Press Club.
Angus McGill, who died in 2015 aged 87, used his Evening Standard column to implore readers to donate to the cause and helped raise £60,000 (about £145,000 in today’s money). Eighteen people were killed as hurricane force winds battered southern England.
The Westminster council plaque commemorating McGill – who worked at the Standard for 42 years – was unveiled outside Charing Cross station where an oak tree was planted in 1988 as part of the appeal.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster Ian Adams, who unveiled the plaque, said Angus “was an integral part of the fabric of London life” and the people he wrote about in the Evening Standard “added colour to the greyest day”.
Deputy Westminster leader Robert Davis also attended the ceremony. He said: “Westminster City Council will be forever grateful for the efforts and help of The Evening Standard and its readers for the raising money through a tree appeal, led by Angus McGill, to replenish the trees lost.”
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice led tributes to his late friend at a reception held for former colleagues and friends at the nearby Corinthia Hotel after the unveiling. Sir Tim told how his friendship with Angus began when the columnist ran the Evening Standard girl of the year contest. Rice admitted to trying to rig the competition, picking up 4,000 copies of the Standard and filling in the coupon with the name of their singer Ross Hannaman for whom Rice had co-written the song Down Thru’ Summer. Angus felt it went against the spirit of the competition but allowed her to finish joint first… and they were allowed to record the song. “It was our first big contract for a singer and it was all down to Angus,” he said.
All images: © Lucy Young 2017