Tony Freail – caretaker at Mary’s
What do curries, shop windows and 100km pilgrimages have in common?
Tony Freail, of course!
Inspired by a love of art, Tony Freail studied graphic design at art school and went on to work as a printer, at Austin Reed. One day, after asking his boss if he could take a three-week holiday, Tony left for Greece… returning four years later. Tony explains, “I wanted to see the world, so I hit the hippee trail and made my way across the Middle East, all the way to India.” After four years, when he finally returned to the UK, Tony managed to talk his way into getting his job back and this is when his career took flight.
For over 20 years Tony had his own shop window display business, with clients that included Fenwick, Hermes, Valentino and Ferregamo. He designed and built the first West End showroom for the Queen Mothers’ milliner and worked on fashion shows for Thomas Starzevski.
A lover of art, Tony has volunteered for ‘Access to Art’ charity where he assisted disabled people to visit art galleries and discuss the works: “Art is very important to me so I try to visit galleries in London and abroad whenever I can.”
In 2013, inspired by his uncle, Tony embarked on a 100-kilometre pilgrimage walk in Spain to Santiago de Compostela, successfully completing and raising over £3,700 for St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney. Tony continues to volunteer at the hospice and helps sort the jumble for their sales.
In 2014, Tony married his long-term partner of 30 years. “We still enjoy each other’s company and laugh a lot!” says Tony. “We also enjoy travelling together to different countries as often as we can.” Tony also enjoys the odd real ale, reading, the cinema and collecting vinyl; he is also a good cook and makes a great curry.
About his current role with us, Tony says, “I have lived in Islington for many years and am pleased to be ‘giving back’ to my community, through my work as caretaker at St Mary’s Church. I enjoy being a part of this and helping to maintain this site that means so much to so many of us in Islington.”