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‘The day Muswell Hill stood still’: Community lines the street for Toff’s owner George Georgiou in emotional goodbye

PUBLISHED: 13:39 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:56 21 July 2020

Hundreds of people lined the Broadway to pay their respects. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hundreds of people lined the Broadway to pay their respects. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Muswell Hill “stood still” and said its final goodbyes today to Toff’s owner George Georgiou outside his fish and chips shop.

Toff's staff outside the fish and chips shop including Sharon Trevers, Chris Yianni, Debbie Andreou, Christopher Koumis, Krista Joannou, Claudia Saba and Paolo De Vendictis. Picture: Polly HancockToff's staff outside the fish and chips shop including Sharon Trevers, Chris Yianni, Debbie Andreou, Christopher Koumis, Krista Joannou, Claudia Saba and Paolo De Vendictis. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hundreds of mourners including Toff’s staff, police officers, traders and residents paid their respects and applauded as George’s hearse passed the Broadway restaurant on Tuesday morning.

George died from coronavirus on April 20, triggering a huge swell of tributes. A private funeral for family and friends is being held today in Southgate.

Toff’s takeaway worker Debbie Andreou told the Ham&High: “George was a great boss and wonderful to me.

“I have worked at Toff’s for 22 years and he’s like family.

George in Toff's attire. Pictures: Georgiou family/James NeophytouGeorge in Toff's attire. Pictures: Georgiou family/James Neophytou

“It’s been terrible not having him around, customers knocking on the door asking about him, and it just brings up so many emotions.”

READ MORE: ‘Muswell Hill will never be the same’: Tributes for Toff’s owner George Georgiou - ‘one of our own’

Toff’s reopened on June 2 in memory of George, whose hearse was adorned with bouquets of flowers including “Dad” on the front and the Chelsea FC badge on the back – George’s beloved football team.

Chris Yianni, a fryer for the community fish and chips shop, said: “He was not just a boss, he was a friend and family too.

George Georgiou's funeral cortège draws up outside Toff's fish and chips shop. Picture: Polly HancockGeorge Georgiou's funeral cortège draws up outside Toff's fish and chips shop. Picture: Polly Hancock

“He was always there for you if you needed him and would help out in any way he could.

“He is going to be missed but we have to keep his legacy going. He made this a great restaurant and we’ve got to continue that.”

READ MORE: In memory of George Georgiou: A list of tributes for Toff’s owner

Snappy Snaps owner Peter Kyriacou said: “To have so many people here today reflects how much he was loved by the traders and by the whole of Muswell Hill.”

The family-run restaurant reopened on June 2 in memory of George. Picture: Polly HancockThe family-run restaurant reopened on June 2 in memory of George. Picture: Polly Hancock

Deanna Bogdanovic, from the Muswell Hill traders’ association, said: “I keep hearing George in the background saying: ‘all this is for me?’

“He was so humble and he didn’t know the full value of what he was to Muswell Hill and friends.

“He was a huge part of everyday life and he was a legend – there is no other word to describe him.”

BBR Records’ director Brian Bogdanovic said: “This is the day that Muswell Hill stood still.”

Muswell Hill stood united in its grief and gratitude to George. Picture: Polly HancockMuswell Hill stood united in its grief and gratitude to George. Picture: Polly Hancock

Christopher Georgiou, George’s son, told this newspaper: “On behalf of my mother, brother and I we would like to express our gratitude to the Muswell Hill community for all their online tributes and for honouring my dad earlier today.

“We would also like to thank them all for the support they have all given us over the last few months.

“Finally we would like to say thank you to the staff who have been like family to my dad and uncle over the past 20 years and have been so supportive with the reopening of Toffs.”

READ MORE: ‘He would be so happy’: Toff’s fish and chip shop reopens in Muswell Hill in memory of George Georgiou

Well-wishers applauding as the hearse passed on its way to George's funeral. Picture: Polly HancockWell-wishers applauding as the hearse passed on its way to George's funeral. Picture: Polly Hancock


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