Big Issue Vendor

A Big Issue hero used his rucksack to help a woman caught in a car crash

Bristol vendor Garry Buchan leapt to the aid of a stricken moped rider
Credit: Rebecca Bernstein

Quick-thinking Big Issue vendor Garry Buchan has been hailed as a “great asset” to his community after leaping to the aid of a moped rider caught in a crash.

A Mini collided with a woman riding a moped just metres from Garry’s pitch on Park Street in Bristol on March 26, leaving the rider lying stricken on the road.

While onlookers gathered, the vendor, who has been selling the magazine for 18 months, used his rucksack to fill the gap between the moped’s handlebars and the car, protecting the woman from a more serious back injury. The woman, in her 20s, was left with injuries to her neck, back and legs.

Garry’s actions showed what a great asset to the community he is, what he did in that first five or 10 minutes before we got there made a real difference

“I was walking back to my pitch after going for lunch because I got a free burrito voucher when I saw the woman lying on top of the moped,” said Garry, originally from north-east Scotland. “There was a lot of people looking but no one was doing anything so I dropped my rucksack and food and went to help.

Garry Buchan
Vendor Garry Buchan has been hailed after he leapt to the aid of a stricken moped rider

“I saw that there was a gap between the car and the moped so I was scared of the woman suffering a back injury. My rucksack was big enough to fill the gap so I put it under the woman to support her while another homeless man helped keep her neck still until the emergency services arrived.

“I haven’t seen the woman since the accident so I just hope that she is okay.”


There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

Big-hearted Garry was able to keep a cool head throughout the incident after calling on his first aid skills for other road traffic incidents in the past as well as assisting a casualty who had fallen off scaffolding.

And the vendor, who is also planning sponsored walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats this summer, is keen to show that homeless people can have a positive impact on society.

Garry said: “There were a lot of people stood around who didn’t act, hopefully I showed that if a homeless guy can do it then I can inspire others to help out too.

If someone is in need and you are in a position to help then you have to do it, that’s why my instincts kicked in and I didn’t mind that my hot lunch got cold if I could make difference

Garry’s actions drew praise from Avon Fire and Rescue watch manager Paul Kirk, who hailed the 42-year-old vendor for his intervention.

“I just wanted to say thank you to the big issue seller who was there and helped at the scene,” he said.

“I would like to express my gratitude to him and his calm and collected manner and quick thinking. His actions showed what a great asset to the community he is, what he did in that first five or 10 minutes before we got there made a real difference.”

Beth Thomas, Regional Manager at The Big Issue, said: “We are so pleased to hear that Garry’s actions made such a difference. Our vendors are there in many communities across the country and often people forget that they have skills that they have either developed previously or that they have acquired during their time with us. He is a real ambassador for the Big Issue in the Bristol community.”

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