Tributes have poured in for much-loved London Big Issue vendor Barry Harding as Big Issue staff and customers remembered a “true gentleman”.
The veteran vendor, who sold the magazine at the Central Line entrance at Shepherd’s Bush tube station, died on May 1 at the age of 64 following a battle with liver and pancreatic cancer.
As well as selling the magazine since 2009, Barry acted as a franchisee for The Big Issue, helping distribute magazines to fellow vendors across London. The news of his death has had an enormous impact on Big Issue staff and vendors in the English capital.
It’s been an honour and a privilege getting to know him and working with him over the yearsLauren Neale, The Big Issue’s sales and operations manager in London
Lauren Neale, The Big Issue’s sales and operations manager in London, said: “Barry had a huge impact on me and us as a team. He will be leaving a giant hole in our lives and in the lives of the vendors around Oxford Circus, as well as his customers and friends in Shepherd’s Bush.
“He was such a kind man and it’s been an honour and a privilege getting to know him and working with him over the years.
“It’s not sunk in properly yet, and I think it will take time for us all to come to terms with it. He will never be forgotten and will be dearly missed but always in our thoughts.”
As well as making an impact on The Big Issue, Barry also made an impression on his customers.
Following news of his death, one of Barry’s customers Anne Scoular told The Big Issue that her “friend” had supported her in her work.
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“I have bought the magazine from Barry for many years, and we had I hope I may say become friends,” she told The Big Issue. “He helped me enormously – I have been running a business, and if I was ever doing any big pitch, I would tell him and he would think of me at that day and time.
“Who knows how it worked, but it almost always worked, and I was very grateful – even if just knowing that someone out there in this challenging world was thinking of me!
“In this last even tougher year, I felt he had my back, and I hope I had his, I was pleased to be able to support him in ways I could, but he gave me more than I gave him. Barry you are a true gentleman, I will miss you very much.”