Milton Keynes mourns loss of “always smiling” vendor Fabian Bayet

The popular Big Issue seller was known as Belgium the Waffle for his chats with regulars

A much-loved Big Issue vendor, dubbed by his friends and regulars as ‘Belgium the Waffle’, has died.

Fabian Bayet became a fixture of life in Milton Keynes over 25 years, selling the magazine outside M&S with his beloved whippet Pippet, before moving on to a pitch on Stony Stratford high street.

Originally from Belgium, the nature-loving vendor earned his moniker through his love of chatting with his regulars. They’ve been inspired to rally round to raise funds for a memorial on his pitch, through a GoFundMe campaign.

Fabian was an ambitious man with lots of dreams he will surely be missed with his big smile and his big personality

Long-time friend Sally Luft said: “I used to spend my lunch breaks with Fabian when I met him 14 years ago and I even took him in one winter.

“He had a lot of people who really cared for him and he was a very special man, a real dreamer who wouldn’t let anyone past without a smile.”

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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.

Fabian joined the navy in his native Belgium as part of his national service before settling in the UK. He leaves behind a brother and a sister.

Touching tributes poured in from other customers and friends, with Catherine Ansdell calling him “one of Stony’s great characters” while Kim McDonald said: “Wherever you are now I know you’ll be smiling.”

Fabian Bayet
Fabian-Bayet
Fabian's smile and personality was a big hit with his regulars

Estella Ramos, the organiser behind the campaign, said: “Fabian was an ambitious man with lots of dreams he will surely be missed with his big smile and his big personality. Fabian had a lot of people willing to help him. He had a charm we loved and would have loved to have seen him fulfil his dreams.

“But sometimes our work is not always on earth and so Fabian has gone to a place where I’m sure he will still be busy plotting his next plan. I’m sure he will be smiling down on those that want to keep his memory alive.”

Fabian’s funeral is taking place on Thursday, August 2, at 12.15pm at Crownhill Crematorium with all welcome to attend.

You can find the GoFundMe page here.

Images: Supplied