Paul, Marks and Spencer, Sheffield

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 32 years old and I have been selling the magazine for about four months.

‘I’m here every morning. If I lived closer I would be out even more’

How’s it going?
It’s been going really well. For the first month I had to go to different pitches but now I have a permanent pitch and ever since I have been working hard and I have built up some regular customers. I’m here every morning and if I lived closer to town I would be out even more.

Where do you live?
I live with my partner about 45 minutes away from the city centre. It costs me loads to get back and forth. I’d like to get her to move with me closer to the city centre but she’s nervous about coming here. She likes it where she is. She’s a really poorly woman. When I’m out people are going knocking on the window and causing trouble so I only work half a day so I can go and look after her.

What was your childhood like?
It was tough. I left home at 13. I’ve looked after myself ever since. My mum and dad had split up and my step-dad was abusive. I was on the street for five years then. It messed my head up. It’s taken me all these years to get where I am. I thought my life had changed when I met my first partner. I had four kids with her. But then everything went wrong and we split up and I lost my home, I lost my job, I lost everything all because I wouldn’t work for this bloke who was well dodgy. After that I was on the streets again and became addicted to heroin.

What happened then?
I ended up six and a half stone and I got very ill. That’s when I realised I couldn’t deal with this any more. I ended up smashed and I got arrested and sent to jail on purpose so that I could get into detox. I’ve been clean for two years now.

Is it difficult to stay clean?
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve nearly relapsed. There have been a few people who have tried to get me back on it. I try and stay away from them.

What are your plans for the future?
I have big plans. I watch a lot of programmes about houses and I’ve worked in the building trade. I watch Homes Under the Hammer all the time – the amount of money you can make on property. I would love to get a small house and do it up and then sell it on.

Tell us about your dog.
I have had Shadow for about two weeks. He’s only puppy now but he’s going to be a big dog. I can’t leave him at home because he terrorises the house. I need to get him trained because when he gets bigger he’s going to try and rule me and I won’t have it. He needs to behave.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m writing a book. It’s about what happened to me, my past. I’ve written over half of it at the moment. It’s taken me over 12 months to write. I can’t read or write really so it’s been a big challenge for me to do it.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for helping me out. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be able to sell. So thank you to them all.


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