We are saddened to report that popular Exeter Big Issue vendor Graham Hoile has died.
The veteran seller, known as ‘Paddy’ by his regular customers, has sold the magazine since 1992 and became a huge part of the local community in a decade of selling outside Heavitree Co-op in the Devon city.
Before his spell on that pitch, Graham had previously sold the magazine in St Austell and in London.
He tragically died aged 67 on May 26 after being struck by a train.
Touching tributes have been placed on his pitch in the wake of Graham’s death.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Big Issue sales and outreach worker in Exeter Sarah Parkhouse said: “Graham was a well-liked and respected member of the community. Rain or shine he would be selling the magazine without a grumble and often a story to tell.
“Well respected by fellow vendors in Exeter, friends and the general public, Graham will be sorely missed by all.”
Graham had been street homeless and had battled alcohol addiction for many years.
However in the last two years of his life, the Irishman had managed to quit drinking as well as finding a place in supported living.
His newfound sobriety enabled him to focus on his passion for cycling and he managed to save £1,000 of his earnings from selling The Big Issue magazine to pay for an electric bike.
And Sarah recalled that Graham was proud of his progress in beating his demons.
She added: “I remember talking to him once on his pitch, someone approached him offering him a can of beer. Proudly and clearly, he said, “No thank you Sir, I’ve not touched a drop for over a year”.”
Graham’s funeral will take place at Exeter and Devon Crematorium on June 25, starting at noon.