Hughie, Ellesmere Port

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been selling Big Issue North for about 12 years now, but I’ve stopped now and again. I used to have a pitch in Moreton but things didn’t work out there and I have been in Ellesmere for getting on for three years now. It’s a good pitch and a great place, I have some good friends here. I did have a problem with a beggar nearby my pitch recently though. He was making a fortune and I lost a lot of customers because of him. Hopefully that’s sorted now. 

‘I get up and go to work every day. That’s what keeps me young’

How old are you?
I’m 51 this year but I am young at heart. I’ve still got a lot of women after me! Turning 51 was no different to being 49 or being 21. It’s just a number. I get up, get out, go walking with my dog Dave, and get to work every day. That’s what keeps me young. It’s only my kids who worry me to death. I am turning grey because of them.

Tell us about your kids.
I have two sons. One of them is 17 now and he comes to visit me most weeks. The other is 16 in September. He’s still in care but we do meet up sometimes. He wants to go into the army. It would be good in some ways. I’d rather he was a cook in the army. I don’t want him to be a soldier, because I’d worry about him every single day. I want the best for the both of them. Of course, if they listened to me it would be an easy life, but what kid listens to their parents? 

Have you got any other family?
I used to have three sisters, now I have got one. One died when she was nine and the other one died eight years ago. And my parents are also dead. It’s life, isn’t it? You have just got to deal with it in your own way. I have an older brother, George. He is the apple of my eye. He was a bit like a dad to me. I was always on his shoulders as a kid. He’s one of a kind.

Tell us about your dog.
Dave, he’s brilliant. He’s like another child and he’s great with kids. He loves them. He’s 12 years old now but he’s still going strong, though someone tried to kill him six months ago by giving him a treat laced with rat poison. 

What do you hope for this year?
I really want a job. I’m desperate. I can’t sell the magazine for the rest of my life. But one thing that is stopping me is my dog. He has been going out with me every day for the last 10 years and he is always there on my pitch. I couldn’t leave him at home. I’d love to be a postman and take him on my rounds. The other thing is no one will give me the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard to find other work.

What job did you do before?
I was a carer for 23 years. But then my girlfriend at the time had an affair and she told a load of lies about me which affected my job. I was devastated. I lost everything and that’s how I ended up selling Big Issue North. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I would like to thank all my customers for what they do for me, for putting a smile on my face and for never judging me. 

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