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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 27 November 2008
Giannagos 'George' Georgiou in his York Rise store
Giannagos ‘George’ Georgiou in his York Rise store
Self-made man with a rich community spirit

WHEN Giannagos “George” Georgiou first arrived in ration-hit London in 1947, it was a different world from the small Cypriot village where he had grown up: cold, wet, and suffering from six years of war.
But Mr Georgiou, who has died aged 86, settled and became a valued member of the Dartmouth Park community where he made his home, along with his family, who ran George’s ‘Continental Stores’ in York Rise, NW5 for 50 years.
George was born in 1922, one of eight siblings, in a village near Famagusta in the north of the island.
His mother died when he was two and he received little education, helping instead to tend the family’s livestock.
But aged 17 he set up a successful taverna in the Famagusta docks. His business nous would be essential later in life.
In 1946, he emigrated to England, travelling by boat and living off bread and onions. He had to leave his new wife, Kay, behind. But he sent for her within a year, having earned money working in a café run by his brother in law in Clapton.
George got a job as a waiter in Piccadilly. He spoke no English but his employers saw his charm and determination, even though his lack of English raised the occasional problem. He was once asked by a diner to tell the house band to play the popular song Night and Day, but replied that he was sorry, “They only played at night”.
On pay day each Friday, he would buy a 78 album of the latest Greek music: his family would wait up for their father to hear the sounds of his homeland. In his later years he tuned in each day to the Greek Cypriot community radio station LGR.
George wanted to be his own boss and in 1956 he noticed the York Rise shop was for sale.
He had saved up and took out a loan to meet the £500 asking price, then worked tirelessly into making it a success: George would go to market at 4am and would not finish delivering to his customers homes until 11 at night.
The shop sold goods from sacks and barrels. Customers remember the glorious scents from spices and coffee, and he would fill up bottles from barrels of olive oil.
He was a “foodie” before Mediterranean food was trendy, and sourced produce from Cyprus.
In 1960, the Georgious, who had five children, Christine, Michael, Andry, George and Nick, moved in above the shop and became a much-loved fixture in the area, their children going to local schools and the shop becoming the centre of the Dartmouth Park community.
He and Kay had planned to retire to Cyprus – they would travel each back year – but the 1974 invasion by Turkish troops saw his family’s land taken and instead he retired to Harrow.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday, December 2 at 10am at the Saint Panteleimon Church, 660, Kenton Road, Harrow.

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