Networking queen brought to Gospel Oak by BBC journalist boyfriend

Carole Stone

Carole Stone - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Carole Stone is a former BBC radio producer turned professional networker. She boasts a contacts list of more than 50,000 names and founded the YouGovStone think-tank, part of market research firm YouGov. The 73-year-old was made a CBE for services to market research in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She lives in Gospel Oak with her husband.

What brought you to Gospel Oak?

My boyfriend, now (I am delighted to say) my husband, the television journalist Richard Lindley. He was on his own when we met; I soon sorted that though he did make me wait ten years before he proposed (but at 56 and never asked before I said ‘yes’ pretty quickly). I always knew that the house came with him since he loves Gospel Oak; and now I do too.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

I would perhaps saunter to The Map Studio Café in Grafton Road to take coffee with the off-beat owner Chris Townsend. If it was a Thursday or a Saturday I would then stroll to the Queen’s Crescent Market. Then I would take Richard for lunch at the Patron Cave à Manger in Fortess Road, just to taste again their starter of onion crème brûlée - reduced onions with calvados.

Is there anything about Gospel Oak which you would like to see changed or improved?

I would like to see more focus on mixed development here, to keep the inevitable rise of residential building in balance with places for people to work in all kinds of ways, so that our neighbourhood stays vibrant and inspiring.

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A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you and why?

Any female actor who, like me, has a very large nose – I feel a woman with a big nose would understand me.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

My mother, I cannot say other: enlightened, calm, uncluttered by sentimentality. Mama didn’t have my chances in life, but she never stopped learning and was ever curious. She taught me to take life by the scruff of the neck and live it not in teaspoon sips but in great gulps.

If you had to write an epitaph, what would it say?

She took life in her stride; for her, friends were the joy of life.

Carole Stone was in conversation with Tim Lamden.