Terry McNamara, age 61, St Paul's, City of London
Stephen Fry asked me what I thought about the Occupy movement when it was here. He also spoke to Kevin, who’s the road sweeper round here. Kevin later told me the crew followed him all over London!
Occupy St Paul’s was a difficult time as I understood both sides. Initially they had some good points but perhaps the camp should have left after three or four weeks, rather than months.
The Occupy organisers asked me to speak about selling my Big Issues and my experiences, at one of their camp sessions. I was really nervous because there was quite a crowd, but a lady told me afterwards that she found my talk inspirational.
I’ve been selling The Big Issue for about three years now, always at St Paul’s. There is a real community here – I’ve got to know so many people and the priests are brilliant. I think it was Father Michael who asked me whether I wanted to go to the Queen’s Jubilee ceremony. I was taken aback for a minute but said: “Yes, I’d like to!”
The service was lovely, really something. I felt emotional to be there and mingle with all the people. I don’t like to call them ‘posh’ but they’re a bit beyond me.
The Queen looked wonderful, as did Prince William and Prince Harry – actually, Harry looked quite worn out. I think he must have gone to a club the night before. The Queen must have been going through her own emotions as well, with her husband not being there.
One of the priests told me a few days ago that a copy of the Order of Service is selling for £285 on eBay. It makes me laugh. I’ve got my copy in my bag, I’m not tempted to sell it at the moment. I just like having it!
When I came out afterwards, it felt like an achievement just to have been there. I saw all the people behind the barriers and felt really privileged; I’ve been behind those barriers before.
At the moment I’m in sheltered accommodation in Stoke Newington. It was one of my regular customers who got me out of a hostel. I have some brilliant customers. They have truly given me hope and I want
to thank them all.
My Customers -
I have sold Big Issues to the Dalai Lama and the Dean of St Paul's. Who's next? Whoever comes past!
Top Image: The QI presenter and top tweeter Stephen Fry bought a Big Issue from Terry at his pitch outside St Paul's Cathedral and interviewed him for an upcoming ITV documentary about the City of London. Interview: Sally Brammall Photo: Travis Hodges