Dave, Deansgate, Manchester

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What was your childhood like? 
It was brilliant. My whole family were florists and I was out working from the age of 10. The best memories I have are at Maine Road watching City play and, if I wasn’t watching City, I would be at Old Trafford sat in an executive box. I got to see Mark Hughes every Monday because he would come and have a drink with my dad. I used to always get tickets to Wembley and everything. My childhood was absolutely amazing.

‘In Strangeways I could see my mum’s house from the window’

Why did you become a vendor? 
I have worked as a vendor twice in my life. The first time was 25 years ago, back in the 1990s when I was on the street. It wasn’t really enjoyable. I was doing it because it was a need, because of the drugs. I was chaotic. When I think of all the money that I made and how it was all squandered, it was madness really. But that’s what I was caught up in at the time. I ended up going to jail and while I was in there I went into detox and I had time to think. I was in Strangeways and I could see my mum’s house from the window. When I came out of jail, I never looked back. I packed in the drugs and got myself a job.

Why did you come back to selling the magazine again?
I was working but I got pneumonia and I was laid off. My whole life just spilled out of control from being ill so I came back to make some extra money so I could take care of myself and my family.

What’s the best point in your life?
Getting married.

What’s the lowest point in your life?
Losing my granddad.

What are some of your hobbies?
Mostly spending time with my kids and watching the soaps. I don’t drink or do any drugs anymore. That’s all in the past. I have two kids. One is 11 years old and the other 16. My eldest is at college and he’s got a part time job – he’s a grafter like me.

How does it feel to earn money instead of begging?
I wouldn’t beg anyway. I have too much pride. I enjoy selling the magazine. It’s like selling a bunch of flowers on a market, which I also do. I’m a people person. I get on well with the public. Even if people don’t acknowledge me, I still tell them to have a nice day and that.

Do you want to move on from selling the magazine? 
Yes. I enjoy working – that’s the thing I love most. It’s what I’ve done all my life. Selling the magazine is a stopgap really. I am doing loads of interviews and as soon as a job comes up I will be on it. But that’s not to knock the magazine. It is a good thing. It allows you to go and make money with out doing any badness. I think without this there would be a lot of crime out there in the world. I can’t understand those people begging because why can’t they just get badged up and sell magazines? Big Issue North is a great thing for people who need it.

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