How old are you?
I’m 60 years old now. I’m not planning on retiring though, even though I have had a couple of health scares. Last year I went to the doctor’s with a bad cough and ended up in hospital because I was diagnosed with COPD, which is a lung condition. And then about two weeks after I’d been discharged I got flu and ended up in hospital again.
‘I’ve always liked horror films. I don’t find them scary really’
What other jobs have you done in the past?
I’ve been a sewing machinist, a shop assistant, and I’ve worked in a factory. I was selling the Sheffield Star but got made redundant, and I had various other problems – things which I’ve got past now, but which led to me being homeless. I came to Big Issue North because I had heard about it from someone who was already selling it. I thought I’d give it a try and I haven’t looked back.
Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
I do. I like the pitch in Worksop, except when it’s snowing. I didn’t even go out there when the bad weather came. I’m a people’s person and I’d rather be out meeting people. I’ve made some good friends in Worksop. I don’t think I’d be able to do anything else, not with my health as it is. Maybe one day I’ll stop selling the magazine but it’s hard to imagine what else I might do.
Where do you live now?
I live in Sheffield city centre, and I have a lodger who does the Big Issue North as well.
What was your childhood like?
My dad was in the RAF and I grew up in all kinds of places – Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia. I only remember living in Germany though and I was 10 when we came back to England. I have some nice memories of my childhood but I didn’t make many friends as we were travelling about all the time. And I had a difficult time at school, because I had dyslexia and the teachers thought I was stupid.
Do you have any family now?
I lost in my mum in 1986 – she died of cancer. And then I lost my dad in 1999. I have an older sister and a nephew and niece but I don’t see them very often.
When did you last go on holiday?
Well, that would have been when I was living with my parents. We went to Barry Island in Wales in the late 1970s. I haven’t had a holiday since then. It would be nice to be able to go on holiday if I could, and if I could go anywhere I’d like to go to America, because I’m into horror films and I’d like to go and see places like the Amityville house, which is a real place that they made a film about.
Would you spend a night there if you could?
I think I would, yes. I’ve always liked horror films. I don’t find them scary really, though the first time I saw The Exorcist at the cinema, that was scary. I suppose people might be surprised when they find out I like horror films. But I like a lot of things. I also like sci-fi, mainly Star Trek, and especially the original TV series with William Shatner in. He was the best Captain Kirk.
Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you very much for your support and carry on buying the magazine.