Nature reserve re-named in honour of its founder on the anniversary of her death

Jane Evans was 'bright, artistic, spiritual and tenacious'

Thursday, 11th January 2018 — By Tom Foot

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A NATURE reserve has been officially re-named in honour of its founder on the first anniversary of her death.

The former Minster Road Nature Reserve in West Hampstead was named the Jane Evans Nature Reserve on Friday in front of a large crowd of friends and family. Ms Evans, 62, who worked in the music industry, had campaigned to restore the unused land next to the Thameslink railway tracks near her home.

Jane Evans

Her brother Owen described his sister, an accomplished photographer, as having “a passion for nature”. “She was bright, artistic, spiritual and tenacious,” he added. “When the land next door to her beloved flat in Minster Road was acquired by a developer she decided to act upon her idea for a nature reserve for wild plants, insects and the like in the middle of north London.”

The land was given protection when it was sold off for Mill Apartments development in 2007. Several trees were axed, but under the terms of a planning agreement part of the site was transferred to Camden as a conservation area. Led by Ms Evans – for many years secretary of Fordwych Residents’ Association – a Friends group was set up in 2015. It planted a small orchard on the land and managed the site.

The eldest of three sisters and three brothers, Ms Evans grew up near Shoreham in West Sussex. Her brother said she developed a passion for music in the 1970s, in particular, psychedelia – “Jimi Hendrix, Cream and the like”.

She got a job at Virgin Records at Marble Arch and ended up working for major record companies from the early 1980s. “She finished her career as operations director for Warner Music Vision,” said Mr Evans. Normally, naming the nature reserve would have been delayed until 30 years after Ms Evans’ death, but Camden decided to waive the regulations after receiving a large number of letters supporting the change.

Friend and resident Nick Russell said: “Jane was the committed and highly capable driving force behind the creation of the Minster Road Nature Reserve four years ago. She did a tremendous job of motivating the community to support it, obtaining Camden’s support, and assembling great expertise and advice on the horticulture/ecology.”

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