Errol Williams, age 49, Co-op Supermarket, East Dulwich
I’ve been working on this pitch for one-and-a-half years. I walk every day from Peckham to Vauxhall, get my papers and walk all the way back.
I don’t like to just sell my papers and that’s it – I like it when people stop and talk to me. I’m there talking for ages and I realise I’ve still got to sell my papers! I’ve come across people feeling down-and-out and I tend to cheer them up a lot. There was one woman who had a son who should have left home a long time ago, and she didn’t know how to get around it. I got her in touch with all the housing places. Now I’ve seen her and she said everything’s going all right.
Years ago, my hobbies used to be fishing, sailing and canoeing, but that all went out the window. I’m doing something about my drinking and drug use. I go on various drug programmes and I see a key worker every fortnight, and a GP.
If I could get off the stuff I would like to get full employment, but if I can’t do that straight away I can help other people. I tell other users about what’s right and wrong, and never to share this and that, always to be clean, make sure you’ve got your own stuff. It only takes one person to help someone out of their habit.
I’ve been doing lots of hiking and now I’m getting into camping. I’ve walked miles and miles. Sometimes me and my mates do what we call ‘the seven bridges’ on a weekend. We walk along the Thames from Deptford, all along the bank past St Thomas’ hospital, Westminster, Lambeth and Battersea, and past seven bridges. But we worked out there was more than that – it’s more like 10! And then we walk back.
Lately we’ve done a different route: from up that end we walk towards Elephant and Castle and go along the Old Kent Road. We leave my mate’s house at about half-ten or eleven and get back a few hours later.
Interview: Emma Field Photo: Tom Campbell