We are sad to announce that long-time London Big Issue vendor Andy Wotton has died.
The 52-year-old, who was originally from Scotland but sold the magazine outside Waitrose Barbican, lost his life on Monday September 2.
Much-loved Andy was renowned for his generous nature among his customers, particularly for providing water for pets outside the store and looking after customers’ bikes as they shopped.
Andy Wotton, who most #Barbican residents will know as the @BigIssue seller outside Waitrose on Whitecross St, died this past Monday. He will be remembered as an absolute gentleman and a ray of sunshine by all of us who stopped to talk to him. pic.twitter.com/jlK9Hv2dxg
— Richard Crossan (@crossan_richard) September 8, 2019
Andy, who suffered from a long-term illness, fell ill and was taken to hospital on the Sunday before passing away on Monday morning.
One of Andy’s customers, Chrissie Tiller, paid tribute to the Big Issue vendor.
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.
“Me and my husband always used to buy from him, he was always there. He was part of the community and part of life there,” Chrissie told The Big Issue.
“He was always so pleasant and me and my husband could often hear him on the phone to his mum in, I think, Scotland and he was always reassuring her that he was managing and everything was alright.
We’re all in a bit of shock our way. @StarRedrum and I paid our respects to Andrew Wotton ‘our’ @BigIssue seller. Andy always asked after your health, looked after customers dogs/bikes and gave out trolley tokens to those of us who regularly forgot them. RIP Andy. https://t.co/5HRpiSWWgc
— Katie Milton (@LaPlumage) September 7, 2019
“Loads of people spoke to him and bought The Big Issue, people were very fond of him.
“People have been through so much over austerity and he was a decent guy really trying hard to The Big Issue.
“He was part of our community and life in that part of London. He cheered people up and he was there for people.”
Long-time Waitrose employee Tim Howard told The Big Issue that scores of tributes and flowers have been left outside the store in the wake of Andy’s death.
“I reckon I’ve known Andy for about 15 years and he was really well-liked,” said Tim.
“There a loads of people outside the store placing flowers and stopping to read the tributes. Someone has even created a Lucozade bottle with his name on because he used to drink Lucozade all the time.
“He was a good person and very kind. He was always happy and he was one of those people who would make a point of remembering everyone’s name. He was just a really nice person.”
Chris Falchi-Stead, Director of Sales & Operations at The Big Issue, said: “Andy was an extremely well loved vendor in Barbican, and we are all very saddened to hear of his passing.
“It has been truly humbling for us to have received so many calls from his customers, he touched the hearts of so many. The thoughts of everyone at The Big Issue are with his family at this difficult time.”