Sally, WH Smiths, Preston

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 50 and 51 in May. I’m originally from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire but I moved up here with my husband in 2000. I wouldn’t move back down south now. This is home.

How long have you sold Big Issue North?
I have sold the magazine for about 10 years, always in Preston. I sell the magazine because it keeps me sane and I don’t get a lot of benefits, so the magazine has helped me quite a lot. 

‘What makes me happy? Life. I take each day as it comes’

Do you enjoy selling it?
Yes, I like doing it. It keeps me occupied and I like meeting people. I’ve got a lot of regulars now. I find selling the magazine is quite easy. It wasn’t easy to get started but now it is. It’s working and I like that. It means that I’m not begging and that means I feel good about myself.

What makes you happy?
Life. I go from day to day. You never know when you will have a heart attack in the morning, do you? So I take each day as it comes. Also I pray every night. That helps. I’m a Catholic. That is important to me. I was raised as a Catholic. 

What makes you sad?
Getting stressed out. I do sometimes get stressed out. My husband has got a drink problem. He doesn’t drink every day, but when he does drink it does stress me out because you never know what’s going to happen. He’s not violent or anything, but he can get in a bad mood and be unpredictable and get a bit mouthy and I worry about him. But we’ve been married for 22 years and other than that things are OK. 

What do you do in your spare time?
I do the housework. I don’t really enjoy it, but my husband helps. 

What’s Preston like?
The people are nice but the city centre has got worse since they did up the high street. They put in these low kerbs and people don’t notice them. The amount of people falling over is unbelievable. 

Do you have any family?
I’ve got one brother, but he lives in Australia now. My parents live in St Albans but I am not in touch with them. I lost their phone number and we fell out because they don’t like my partner. 

What do you hope for in the future?
Just a more enjoyable life really. For my husband to stop drinking and for me to give up smoking. I’ve been smoking for 40 years. I had my first cigarette at 11 because a friend gave me it. I have tried giving up, but it didn’t work. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for your support and generosity. I’m grateful even if you just stop and talk to me. That does help, because it’s nice when someone stops to chat. 

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

We have taken the difficult decision to tell our vendors that they cannot sell Big Issue North on the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of the public and themselves.

This is a serious emergency for our vendors, and they need your help. There are three things you can do right now to help them get through this impossibly tough period.

  1. Buy our digital issue of this week’s magazine Buy
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