Christopher, Liverpool City Centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from Sri Lanka. And I turned 66 in August. I am getting old.

‘I lost many family members and if I had stayed I’d have died too’

How has this year been?
I had a heart attack in February. I was at a friend’s house and I collapsed. I was rushed to hospital. I might have died if it had been even half an hour later. I have to take ten tablets every day now but I feel ok. The Big Issue North staff were really helpful. They are lovely people. Everyone has been helping me here. They often called the hospital to check that I was ok. 

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I have been selling the magazine for 14 years. Maybe I will stop next year. It is a long time. 

Where do you live?
I used to live in a hostel but now I live at a friend’s house. I lived in London for two years but I have been in Liverpool for 18 years and I love it. It is the best city and I wouldn’t live anywhere else now. This is my home.

Why did you come to the UK?
I am Tamil. There are many problems for Tamils in Sri Lanka and so I came to the UK to claim asylum. There was a bad civil war there and many people died. I lost a lot of family members and if I had stayed I would have died too. I could not go back to Sri Lanka. There are too many problems there. 

Do you have any family left in Sri Lanka?
I have two children. They are twins and they are 43 years old now. I have not had contact with them for many years. I miss them very much.

What do you do in your spare time?
I go to church every Sunday. I also like to read newspapers and watch films, and also cooking and gardening. 

What makes you happy?
If people are happy around me, then I am. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to say thank you. My customers look after me. They are always asking if I am ok. Liverpool people are the number one people, the best people in England. 

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