Here’s the advice our vendors would give to their younger selves

With our Letter To My Younger Self book out now, Ann Warke, Donna Barlow, Lee Cooke and Richard Broadway get in the spirit to look back to when they were teenagers

The Big Issue’s Letter to my Younger Self book has been flying off shelves in its first few weeks on sale. It’s a collection of interviews with some of the most successful people in the world, sharing the secrets they’d whisper in the ear of their teenage selves. Our vendors, too, have lived extraordinary lives – so we asked them all the question: what advice would you give to your younger self?

Ann Warke
Ann says delays to her first Universal Credit payment left her without money for food

Ann Warke, Exeter

“Dearest Ann, you are going to make mistakes! Like everyone does, don’t be too hard on yourself, it will help you understand people and their mistakes. And please don’t allow friends, family and society to make you feel small because you didn’t live your life the way they expected! Live your life your way like you’re going to do and try hard not to worry too much. You will be liked and loved.”

Lee Cooke My Pitch 1382

Lee Cooke, Newcastle

Stick in at school and get a good job. It’s a hard life, it’s not easy, but you’re going to be OK.


Donna Barlow, Exeter

Do some more education, try and fit it in. I was a mum at 15 and I’d tell young Donna that it’ll be OK. But I think I knew that anyway because I lived with my mum until I was 17. Life hasn’t thrown me the best things but it’s not been the worst either. I’m still standing.

Richard Broadway 1376

Richard Broadway, Birchington

Always be able to admit to oneself when one has a problem. I think that advice would have helped in my life – but only to an extent. There just weren’t as many child laws as there are nowadays. Kids in care didn’t have a voice.

Letter to My Younger Self: 100 Inspiring People on the Moments That Shaped Their Lives is available now from all good booksellers (Blink Publishing, £16.99)

Images: Andrew Butler/North News/Sheradon Dublin