It is our sad duty to report that Billy Clark, a stalwart of New Covent Garden Flower Market for more than 40 years, passed away earlier this month, aged 73.
Billy started working at the old Covent Garden market in approximately 1970 on the pitching in gang, the group of men employed by CGMA to bring the goods into the flower market for all the different firms. Another ex-market porter and Billy’s friend since that time Michael Mole kindly shared his memories with us. “In the old market, the goods were pulled into the market manually by trolley and barrow, which was very hard work. Both Billy and I transferred across to the new market in 1974, where Billy was initially still employed on the pitching in gang, which was now using electric platform trolleys,” said Michael. “He worked for the CGMA for a few years and then worked as a night porter for Newtons, Pratleys and various other firms.”
Towards the end of his working life in Covent Garden, Billy moved to Bristol, from where he commuted to work until he retired, eight years ago. “We remained in touch after he retired – he will be sadly missed and was my great friend for well over 40 years,” said Michael. “Billy was a genuine, kind, considerate and quiet man; a proper gentleman who loved English history. As a young man he used to go as a volunteer on emergency archaeology digs in the City of London anf that love of history continued all his life. As a young man, he was also quite involved in the Japanese art of Kendo.”
Billy was married to Janice, who died 12 years ago. They had two girls, Victoria and Sarah, and three grandchildren Harry, Charlie and Hope. The condolences and best wishes of the entire market community go out to all of Billy’s family, friends and former colleagues.
Billy’s funeral is at 1.15pm on 07/07/21, at Westerleigh Crematorium & Cemetery in Bristol.