The last time we spoke, in June 2018, you had not long been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. How are things now?*
It’s not too bad. It’s remission and relapse, ups and downs. It’s okay at the moment. I’ve got a new treatment coming up in Leeds hospital. They will hook me up to a drip and give me an infusion of drugs every so often. It will be much better than trying to remember to take my tablets every day. I’m a bit worried about it, but I have friends going with me to the first treatment so I’m sure it will be okay. I was supposed to go a couple of months ago but then I had second thoughts and backed out, but they’re not going to give me anything that’s bad for me. I don’t really know what it does. Basically it’s supposed to help stop me having relapses. If it could help me walk a bit better that would be brilliant. Then I’d be happy.
Is that one of the most frustrating things about your illness?
Yeah, having to use the walker to get around. I don’t have problems using public transport and stuff – it doesn’t stop me getting anywhere. But it’s annoying.
What was 2019 like for you?
It was all right. It was steady. I’ve got a few regular customers who are really good to me. I did have to move pitches. I was selling outside Boots but there was a complaint about me – I don’t know who or why. But anyway, I have a new pitch outside M&S and that’s going well.
Where do you live?
I live in Knaresborough. I have to come to the Leeds office to buy my magazines and then go to Harrogate to sell them. It’s a two and half hour round trip. But it gets me out and about, so that’s okay. That’s what work does – gets me out. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Big Issue North. I’d be just sat at home thinking about my MS. Selling the magazine keeps my mind off it, gives me something to do and helps me earn a little bit of money at the same time. It gives my mind something to do and gives my body something to do as well.
What makes you happy?
My little girl makes me happy. I’ve not seen much of her recently but I hope that will change this year. She’s 14 now.
What was your childhood like?
It was good. Full of people. I’ve got three sisters and my mum and dad and a wide circle of other family like aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
What do you do when you are not selling the magazine?
Nothing much these days. I’m always selling the magazine! I never have a day off. I don’t do a full day, nine to five, but yeah, I like working. Then I go home and chill.
What are your plans for 2020?
Keep going and keep doing what I’m doing.