Annie Evans obituary | Social housing


My friend Annie Evans, who died of cancer at 68, was modest, discreet and modest. She made a significant contribution to social housing in London and was also a talented artist.

Born and raised in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Annie was the only daughter of Irish parents, Hilda (née Whelan) and Green Evans. His father came to Britain during World War II and joined the RAF. Her mother was a nurse who worked at Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, in the burns unit that treated the RAF crew, who became a member of the Guinea Pig Club.

A self-portrait of Annie Evans

A family vacation was spent touring Ireland with his parents in a motorbike and sidecar plus a dog, and occasionally an aunt. Annie has remained close to her parents, caring for them in their later years.

She studied geography at Aberystwyth University and traveled to Asia – boarding the Magic Bus that started in Totteridge, north London, and crossed Europe and Afghanistan. After working in planning, she embarked on social housing development with the Newlon Housing Association in London. She and I met in 1986 as development officers for Solon East Co-operative Housing Services in Whitechapel, east London, buying and developing land and property for housing co-ops to provide housing for their members.

In 1990, she moved to the Community Housing Association in Chalk Farm, where she worked until her retirement in 2014. She believed that everyone had the right to decent housing that they could afford. She was astute in her dealings with the real estate market, good at design and always made a difference.

Painting was a lifelong love and hobby, and Annie produced powerful and interesting works of art, ranging from sketches of London landscapes, many of which are the basis of later paintings, to seascapes and Cornish portraits, including a Windrush series, and drawings and paintings with humanitarian themes. She was also very fond of gardens and gardening and obtained a degree in garden design from Capel Manor College.

A portrait by Annie Evans of Paulette Wilson, part of her Windrush series
A portrait by Annie Evans of Paulette Wilson, part of her Windrush series

Annie was a wonderful friend – kind, patient, interested and very good company. She loved to travel, walk and do yoga, and was familiar with all kinds of things, but especially art, buildings, plants and the environment.

For the past 10 years, Annie has coped with the disease the same way she handled life in general – with the support of her 20-plus-year-old partner, Paul Canty, whom she married the year last and who survives him.

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