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How long have you been selling Big Issue North for?
I first started selling when I was about 21 or 22. I’d been in care when I was younger and found it hard to get a job. I was on the streets and Big Issue North was there for me. I had a bit of a chaotic lifestyle and it settled me down. I stopped selling for a while, but recently I came back to it. I’ve got two kids now, and selling the magazine gives me some stability and keeps me on the straight and narrow.

“I sell mags to give the kids a bit more at Christmas and birthdays”

What was being in care like?
I went into care when I was about 11. I got passed around pillar to post. All my foster carers were really nice to me, but I was always starting new schools and living in areas that I didn’t know and things like that. Then because I kept running away from my foster carers, [the social workers] started just giving me money every week because they couldn’t be bothered chasing me, and I was basically living on my own.

What do you hope for for your children?
My hope for my children is that they just do better than I did and not make the same mistakes. I left school early, when I was about 13. My hope for them is that they finish school and go to university and all that. I also hope that I can be the dad that I should be. That’s why I come out with mags – to try and make some extra money so we can give them a bit more at Christmas and birthdays and things like that.

What do you make of the EU referendum result?
EU citizens who aren’t from this country are getting worried that they won’t be allowed to stay in the UK. I’d be very angry if that’s what happens because I thought leaving the EU was because of the regulations and things like that. And that Theresa May, it sounds like something that she’s saying. These people have lived here and worked here, they have families and they need assurances that they are going to be able to stay. I mean, I voted to leave, because of what Brussels put on us, but I do think that that’s wrong.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a big football fan, which has been bad recently because of how England did in the European Championships. I was expecting it – it happens every time with England. There’s so much expectation and then it never happens. But then again I’m a Bradford City supporter.  When you’re a Bradford City fan you can take the lows.

What do you think of footballers’ pay?
It’s never going to change. The money is always going to go up and up. There used to be a pay cap, which said how much footballers could be paid, and it was Jimmy Hill who got that knocked off. Since then pay has gone through the roof. It doesn’t bother me, the money they get paid. It’s just part of life.

What else do you do in your spare time?
I take the kids to the park. It’s great when they are on the toddler swings and they can’t help but giggle and smile. There’s no better feeling, no better sight than seeing that – just your kids on a swing, laughing.

Interview: Christian Lisseman

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