Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 49 years old and I am from Romania. I have sold Big Issue North for 15 years. I sell my magazine to pay for my rent and for food and things. My wife also sells the magazine.
How long have you been married?
I have been married for 30 years. I met my wife through our families. She is a good woman. We have one child. One boy. He is grown up now and he works for Uber. He speaks very good English – not like me. My English is okay but I don’t speak so good.
When did you come to the UK?
We came many years ago. We came because the UK was better for my child. We came to give my boy a better life. We got child support here. In Romania we got nothing. No help at all. The help you get here is not a lot, but it is better than nothing. Life used to be good in Romania. It was possible to work there. But this was 25 years ago. People say Ceausescu [of the Romanian Communist Party] was a bad man but under him life was better in Romania. Now in the Parliament people are no good. They give nothing to the people – nothing to help the children. They help nobody. Now many people in Romania are leaving to go to the UK or Germany or France. They leave to make money.
What jobs have you done in the past?
When I was younger, I worked with my dad and my brother. My dad had a barber’s shop in Romania. I have also done some painting and decorating. I applied for a job to do this here but my English is not so good and they did not give me the job.
What languages do you speak?
I speak a little English. And Romanian. But I can also speak some French. Je parle un peu français! I learnt this when I was a boy at school in Romania.
Do you ever go back to Romania?
Yes. But only sometimes. My dad still lives there. I save a bit of money every week. Then when I have enough for a ticket I go back and visit. But it has been a long time since I have been back there. Maybe I will go this year. But England is my home. I love it here.
What do you do in your spare time?
I go to the Pentecostal church. This is important. I also like to read my Bible. God is very, very important to me.
What makes you happy?
My heart is happy so I smile. I am happy because my heart is good, because the people are good to me. I speak very nicely to them.
Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to say thank you to the people in Congleton. They are very good. They look after me, they give me clothes and shoes and they always ask about me, my wife and my boy.