CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Marcel Schmitt: Tributes after ‘Mayor of Primrose Hill’ dies from heart attack

Friends say area will be less colourful without music producer

02 August, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

HE would walk the streets of Primrose Hill with a guitar, a musician with a “puppy dog” character who was eager to meet new people and spark up conversations with anybody who’d give him the time of day.

So even people who only knew him by sight were sad to learn on Sunday that Marcel Schmitt had died from a heart attack. The 55-year-old had built a neighbourly acquaintance with some of the area’s famous faces including Mary Portas and the broadcaster Andrew Marr, who tweeted condolences over the weekend.

Mr Schmitt had previously owned a bar in Barcelona before moving to London where he worked as a musician and music producer, and also as a model. In 2007 he joined the Working Men’s College to study web design, where he met his friend Catherine Fenwick.

She said: “He would perform and write rock, soul and blues. He knew all of the musicians in Camden. Everyone seemed to know who he was. He was a colourful character, like a puppy dog – a really loving, generous person.”

Marcel Schmitt with Catherine Fenwick and fellow musician, Gregster

Phil Cowan met Mr Schmitt 12 years ago in his interior design shop and they developed a close friendship since.

He said: “I did a street stall two years ago on the high street with a petition against HS2. Marcel came along and said he would help. He was always extremely supportive of making the local community tighter than it already is. I appreciated him so much for that. I said to him he should be the Mayor of Primrose Hill.”

Mr Cowan added: “His main thrust was communication with people. He talked about all sorts of different subjects from politics, local issues and Brexit. He engaged with people in a very thoughtful way. Not only the people who live here but visitors that came to Primrose Hill, he engaged with them as well. There has been a huge outpouring of grief in the neighbourhood. He was a person with a very good heart which people appreciated around here. He touched a lot of lives in a very special way. The streets will be sadder and emptier with the loss of Marcel.”

Mr Schmitt was born in Strasbourg, France, where his mother in her 80s still lives. He had been in intensive care for a week following a heart attack before he died.

Reverend Marjorie Brown from nearby St Mary’s Church said an event to celebrate his life was being planned.

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