Customers have rallied together to pay a touching tribute to much-loved vendor Stevie after his sudden death this month.
The 49-year-old, who sold the magazine outside the Costa Coffee in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, for 18 months after previously selling in Glasgow, was found dead in his B&B last weekend.
And the news has inspired an outpouring of emotion from the local community, with a tribute left on his pitch while customer Susan Bittker penned a heartfelt letter on behalf of Stevie’s customers.
She wrote: “The sudden death of Steven (also known as Stevie or Stef to his friends) has left Stockbridge (Edinburgh) residents shocked and bereft. Steven was very much a part of the Stockbridge community: he worked really hard at the job he loved – selling The Big Issue – and made a big impression because of his positive outlook, his smiling face, and the fact that he always loved to chat with his customers.
“Sometimes you’d have bought your Big Issue from him, said goodbye, and moved on, and he’d still be calling after you to ‘have a good day’ and ‘god bless.’ As one of his friends said ‘he was one in a million.’ I hope he knew how much the people of Stockbridge cared about him and are grieving for him. I’m writing this letter on behalf of all of his customers and friends.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
Stevie’s sudden death is doubly tragic as he was using his Big Issue sales to save up for a new moped and had almost hit his target before he lost his life.
Rhys Corley-Morgan, The Big Issue’s Sales and Operations Manager for Scotland, said: “Stevie was selling the magazine consistently and was doing well trying to save up for a new moped so he could be a mod again.
“We are all saddened by the news of his death and he will be much missed by everyone here at The Big Issue in Edinburgh.”