The customers of much-loved Big Issue vendor Lionel Hegarty have raised thousands of pounds to pay for his funeral after he died earlier this month.
The 78 year old, who sold the magazine outside the Co-op in Botley, Oxford, died on the morning of June 7 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He had spent the last three weeks of his life in Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital after suffering a stroke.
The popular seller had become a beloved member of the local community after years on the same patch. But with no family, Hegarty was facing the prospect of a pauper’s funeral until his customers raised almost £4,500 to give him a fitting send-off.
Hegarty’s funeral will be held on July 4 at Botley Baptist Church from 11am.
One of his customers, Megan Antell started the fundraiser. She said: “Many people had been to visit him in hospital over the past few weeks so he knew how loved was and was in high spirits to the very end.
“Unfortunately as it stands he has no next of kin and. therefore, no one to help pay for his funeral. The last thing any of us want is for him to have a pauper’s funeral.”