On Saturday 10th July, Ray Green, Chairman of Jubilee Market Hall and a former Trustee, passed away at the age of 72 after a brave fight against cancer. This has been a big shock for the community, as Ray remained optimistic about his illness and still had a smile for everyone until the end.
Fondly known as ‘Mr Covent Garden’ Ray was instrumental in making Covent Garden what it is today. He was extremely well liked by everyone who was fortunate enough to come into contact with him and his presence will be missed by many people.
Ray regarded Covent Garden and Jubilee Market Hall as his second home and his work to preserve the character of the area will live on as his legacy. It is impossible to mention Jubilee Market Hall without talking about Ray as he had such an immeasurable impact on its survival.
Ray first appeared in Covent Garden as a fabric stallholder in 1976 and was instantly charmed by the region. In the mid 1980s, local authorities attempted to close down the market and demolish the building but through perseverance and sheer determination, Ray created Jubilee Market Hall and it remains a popular destination for tourists and locals. Costas Benopoulos-Jones has worked closely with Ray. He said: “He could make the impossible, possible.” This was not down to luck but Ray’s hard work and proactive approach to life. Ray was a popular and well-respected man who stuck to his convictions and took a fair approach to any dilemma. His lively and vigorous nature meant that he could achieve anything that he decided to and could always be relied upon to speak his mind.
Unsurprisingly, Ray's background in fabrics meant that he also had a passion for fashion and shopping. So much so that he was renowned for having a different outfit for every possible occasion. One of Ray’s proudest achievements in his professional life was the Queen coming to the official opening of Jubilee Market Hall in August 1987.
Above all else, Ray understood that it was important to keep Covent Garden as a thriving worldwide destination but also as a community. Alexander Nicoll (Westminster Councillor 1994-2010) said: “The Covent Garden community, unlike some others in London, is a representation of all the strands found locally; residents, business, culture, charities and public bodies. Ray knew and understood this and always sought to reach out to others to help promote or defend the character and interests of Covent Garden. I cannot believe he has gone and count his friendship as one of the most important in my life.”
In later years, Ray was a member of numerous action groups and was Chairman of the Area 1 Steering Group; a body which helps the council communicate with local stakeholders to ensure that the interests of Covent Garden are served. Ray always operated an open-door policy and was willing to give advice or lend a hand but he seemed happiest walking around the stalls and making sure that everything was operating smoothly.
Ray leaves behind a wife and three daughters.
* Article by Gabrielle Vaccarello © In and Around Covent Garden.