You might remember a certain cheeky monkey graced our front cover this summer. Today, the man behind the monkey got married in a cosy ceremony in Cambridge.
Big Issue vendor Mark Siequien told the magazine his story of how he clawed his life back from the brink in July.
After drugs, depression and schizoid personality disorder left Mark at a low ebb in 2015, he decided to look for a new direction in life.
The budding photographer was able to volunteer as a snapper at a primate sanctuary in South Africa – a job that not only allowed him to change his fortunes, but also led him to meet new wife, Anita.
The pair tied the knot today at Cambridge Registry Office, surrounded by their friends, Mark’s parents and even a few of his regular customers.
Reflecting on his remarkable journey after saying ‘I do’, Mark beamed: “It’s hard to believe it has actually happened now. It was such a high mountain for us to climb getting Anita here, but I’m so glad it has finally happened.”
Bride Anita, originally from South Africa, was glowing in a floor-skimming golden gown as she echoed her new husband’s words: “I can’t believe it. It will definitely take a few days to sink in – I can’t wait to continue our journey together.”
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Among the guests helping the couple celebrate was tourism student Merel, who met the pair whilst volunteering, his key worker Sean, a smattering of customers and a few members of Mark’s family.
The group even including dad Colin as well as mum Joan, who he was previously estranged from. The couple’s best friends Chris and Jo were best man and maid of honour.
Mark, who has taken the week off from his regular pitch outside Cambridge railway station to enjoy life as a newly-wed, insisted that he was inundated with well-wishes from his regulars after his first appearance in the magazine alerted them to his upcoming nuptials:
He said: “Our cake and flowers both came from two of my regular customers and I’m delighted that a few of them were even able to make it along today. The Big Issue really has changed my life in so many ways.”
You can read the full story of Mark and Anita’s wedding in next week’s Big Issue.