Tributes pour in for Glasgow legend vendor Paul Kelly

'I've no doubt he made hundreds of people smile every day,' one person said

The news of much-loved vendor Paul Kelly’s tragic death has left customers across Glasgow and East Kilbride devastated.

Heartfelt tributes poured in when the news broke that the 50-year-old had died after a violent attack outside his Knightswood home on Saturday June 15.

Sue wrote: “He was such a lovely guy. Talked to me when I was having a panic attack once. He really helped. Such a kind man.”

Meanwhile Andrew Burns said he always loved to chat to Kelly when buying The Big Issue from the vendor.

When he wasn’t opening doors for people outside Marks and Spencer in East Kilbride town centre or selling magazines at St Leonard’s Square, Kelly worked on his pitch outside Sainsbury’s on Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

His calls of ‘don’t be shy, give it a try. I don’t bite’ became a familiar sound for locals, many of whom have been left shaken by his death.

On social media customers had always praised Kelly’s good nature and work ethic – and have continued to do so after hearing the tragic news.

MSP and shadow cabinet minister for health and sport Monica Lennon said she was very sorry to hear that Paul had died.

And Clare said she had never known his name but that his “wee catchphrases” always made her smile, adding: “In fact I’ve no doubt he made hundreds of people smile every day.”

Craig Mclean said he was “really upset” to hear that “the ‘don’t be shy, give it a try'” vendor had been killed.

“I must have seen him on Buchanan Street dozens of times and everyone only had positive words to say about him,” he added.

Many locals said they knew Kelly as a kind man with no shortage of enthusiasm who was, above all, a hard worker. Local Lisa Graham commented: “He was such a nice guy and a genuine grafter. Such a shame. RIP”.

John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, took to Twitter to express his sadness at Kelly’s death.

“I’m so sorry to hear of the death of Paul Kelly,” Lord Bird said, “Vendor, inspirer of hope, and taken from us by violence; all of us send our deep feelings of loss to a man who deserved a better shake of the dice – let’s not rest ’til all this appalling poverty and pain is distant memory.”

It’s clear that Paul Kelly was loved by the communities he served. If you would like to share your memories of the vendor, email editorial@bigissue.com.

Image: Jamie McFadyen