George Michael fans visiting from abroad will have to lay flowers in a different corner as garden goes
PUBLISHED: 14:36 01 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:48 01 June 2018
A hundred grieving George Michael super-fans will have nowhere to pay their respects when they visit Highgate in June - because the pop icon's memorial garden is gone.
The diehards were set to descend on the garden, outside his former home The Grove, on what would have been his 55th birthday.
But the shrine has been dismantled in the last few days after a request from the late singer’s family.
Heidi Feichtinger, who has tended to the garden on a regular basis over the last few months, revealed the devotees had organised the trip before learning of its fate.
She said: “Some of them were coming up for the first time, so they could see the garden.
“We’ve got people coming from America, Spain, Germany and Italy for George’s birthday.
“We’ve now got to decide where, and how, we’re going to celebrate what would have been his 55th birthday.”
The site had faced criticism in recent months because of its state after the miserable and protracted winter.
Heavy rain coupled with thousands of visitors meant the once solid ground turned into a muddy quagmire.
Heidi has made friends with fellow fans at the garden, but said she understood the family’s decision.
“The family released a statement asking people to collect all their things.
“It’s the right time for it, to move forward.
“We’ve been very grateful that the family has allowed us to have the garden for so long.”
She added fans were still looking for a permanent tribute to George, but are unsure what form any long-term memorial should take.
The garden sprung up outside the former Wham star’s home after his death on Christmas Day 2016.
It has since been a focal point for mourners to reflect on his life and work, with fans from across the world coming to pay their respects in the 17 months since.
“The overriding memory is that it was a garden of love and friendship,” said Heidi.
“So much has come out of it. We’ve raised more than £30,000 for charity, which will continue his legacy.”
Two of the charities that have benefited from the donations are the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and MacMillan Cancer Research.
Even in the garden’s final days, a candlelit event raised £670.