Hull city centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 44 and I’ve been selling the magazine on and off for around five years, since I first came to Hull.

‘I used to be a lorry driver, it would be good to get back into that.’

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Grimsby. I got into drugs when I was about 30 and it just kept escalating and I ended up just having enough, so I left Grimsby and came to Hull. I managed to leave it all behind, pretty much. It was a good move. I like Hull. I still have family in Grimsby and I keep in touch with them, but I haven’t been back there since I moved.

What jobs have you done in the past?
I used to be a lorry driver and it would be good to get back into that one day. I used to drive lorries all over the country and I liked it. People say it’s lonely, but you concentrate all day on getting where you need to go, so the time passes quickly.

What makes you happy?
That’s a difficult question, I really don’t know. I’m still struggling with things at the moment so we’ll see. The main thing is that selling the magazine has given me routine. I’ve never really had routine in my life as an adult before, so this is great. It gets me up first thing in the morning to get to the office to buy my magazines, and it’s instilled in me something like a normal day’s work really.

What do you do in your spare time?
I play lots of games on my phone. I like Clash of Clans. I have been playing it for two or three years now. And I watch TV. I like grand prix and darts. I’m a big Lewis Hamilton fan. These drivers train hard and the conditions they drive in are really difficult. I admire them.

Is there a lot of homelessness in Hull?

You see it a lot more here than you did in Grimsby. The place where I buy the magazines is very busy because it’s a drop-in centre for homeless people in Hull. I struggle when I see the homelessness here – you see people wondering around the city centre and they haven’t got anything and there’s nothing in their daily lives. When I see someone on their way home to make a cup of tea or something, and there’s this bloke on a piece of cardboard in a doorway that they walk past. That’s all he has – that bit of cardboard in a doorway, and he’s just there all day. I’ve been there myself. I know what it’s like to have nothing. People even tell you off for sitting on the floor, so you have nothing and nowhere to go. It’s horrible. It isolates you from everyone. And when there’s nothing else to do but just sit there, that’s when people end up getting into drugs and things. It’s just a way of passing the time.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for all your support. The other day this lady brought me two hard boiled eggs. It was funny but it was really good of her as well, to take that time to think to do that for me. Anyone who doesn’t ignore me, they do make a difference. They may not realise it, but just a smile or a hello – that keeps me going.

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