Allan, Aldi, Prestwich

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Why do you sell Big Issue North?
It keeps me going. I’m 64 years old now. No one is going to employ me at my age. This is the nearest I’ll get to employment. I guess I might retire in a few years, but I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that yet.

‘Surviving cancer changed things a lot. I ‘m a lot calmer.’

You’ve recently made a recovery from cancer. Tell us about that.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. But my last set of tests came back negative, so the treatment looks like it worked. I’m buzzing with that. I was obviously really concerned, and I just wanted to get back to my normal self, which took a long while to happen. If they hadn’t caught it in time, I could have died. I have to say, the doctors and nurses were fantastic. 

Has surviving cancer changed your outlook on life?
Oh yeah. It’s changed things a lot. I’m happy I can get up in the morning now, I am more relaxed, I’m more chilled out. I’m a lot calmer.

Where do you live?
I live in rented accommodation. I did have some housing problems a year or two ago. I’m with a private landlord and he wanted to do the place up and evict me. But the council stepped in and he ended up doing the renovations while I was still living there. So not only did he not evict me – he put a new kitchen in for me as well. 

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
Oh yeah, I enjoy it. And I enjoy meeting the people here. Prestwich people are really nice people. They have supported me all the way. The Big Issue North office staff have also been brilliant. They were really good during my cancer recovery. I never had to worry about keeping my pitch or meeting my sales targets and they have really looked after me. 

What do you do in your spare time?
I used to go fishing but then someone broke into my shed and took all my fishing tackle and I can’t afford to replace it. It’s rubbish but there you go. But in my spare time I stay home, talk to friends, things like that. I’m good friends with Joe, who also sells the magazine in Prestwich. He put me on to this pitch in fact. He told me there was a new Aldi here and suggested I went to ask the manager about selling outside. 

Is it a good pitch?
It’s a great pitch. I’ve sold on here for more than five years now. There was some bother a while back because someone higher up in Aldi wanted to move me on from the doorway and across the road. But it got in the local paper, a local MP got involved on my behalf and there was a social media campaign to stop them. They changed their mind in the end. 

What makes you happy?
My partner. We look after one another. And Tuesdays. I sell the magazine every day except Tuesday. That’s my day off and I look forward to it. 

Any plans for 2020?
No, I haven’t got any plans as yet. Just see how it goes. I’m hoping this year will be a better year than last year. Last year, I fell and broke my collar bone. I had my dog with me on his lead. We were out and he saw a rabbit and bolted and took me with him. I smashed into
a tree. Broke my collar bone and it’s left me with a big scar as well. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you very much for helping me out in all kinds of ways and for buying my magazines. I hope you can keep on doing it for me. 

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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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