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Big Issue vendors send their condolences to royal family on news of Queen’s death

The Queen and the Royal Family have always been supporters of charities like The Big Issue.

Big Issue vendors have shared their thoughts and memories of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family on news of her death at the age of 96.

Big Issue vendor Dave Martin, who sells the magazine at Tesco in Hammersmith, London, met Prince William earlier this summer as the royal sold the magazine to mark his 40th birthday.

He said: “It’s sad news, not only for the royal family but for the people of this country. She was well-liked and will surely be missed. I was glad to have met William earlier this year and to have a royal connection so I feel sad for the royal family right now.”

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Bridget Sibley, who sells the magazine at Waitrose in Southsea, Portsmouth, said she was “very, very distressed” at the news.

She said: “She’s been an icon. What more is there to say? She reminds me of a graceful swan, floating along, full of grace. She has done a brilliant, fantastic job.

“I celebrated the Jubilee earlier this year and I was out selling The Big Issue selling red, white and blue and I was very proud to sell the magazine with William on the cover. I was behind the Queen one million per cent. Bless her heart.

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“How very sad that she has died. She will always remain a wonderful icon in our hearts for her gracefulness, inspiration and devotion. She ruled our country to perfection. God bless our Queen who’ll be very dearly missed.”

Eamonn Kelly, who sells the magazine in Trinity Street, Cambridge, said: “I’ve always liked the royal family, particularly William. When I met him earlier in the year and he heard about me selling The Big Issue he wanted to meet me more than I wanted to meet him. He’s a real gentleman.

“It’s a terrible thing that the Queen has died, I always liked her. She was on the throne for a lot of years, our Queen. It’s going to take people a couple of days to get used to it.” 

Simon Gravell, who sells outside the former Topshop building in Norwich city centre, said: “It’s very sad. It wasn’t a surprise but now it’s happened I do believe the Queen was the best asset this country has ever had. She wasn’t just loved by the people of this country, she was loved by the rest of the world by the sounds of it if even somebody like Putin sent a message.

“I think people are missing a big point that she was the only monarch who could strip down a Land Rover engine because she was the first female monarch to see active duty during the Second World War when she was with the ATS [Auxiliary Territorial Service]. People seem to have forgotten about that.

“For once I am lost for words because there are just no bad words to say about the lady.”

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George Anderson, who sells The Big Issue at Broadcasting House in London’s White City, said there was a “real sense of sadness” around the former BBC headquarters as the news broke on Thursday evening.

“There was a feeling of loss for a woman that not many people really new personally but somehow managed to touch other people’s lives just through her commitment and sense of duty.

“I spoke to one of the rough sleepers I am quite friendly with – he was in the armed forces and served in Afghanistan and he’d actually met the Queen. She did touch a lot of people, particularly in the armed forces because that sense of duty is such an integral aspect of what the armed forces are about.

“People invariably admire that she was the glue that held a lot of things together and I fear that maybe there will be a lot of implications that may arise from her death. For many people a lot of the grief that they are experiencing for someone they didn’t know that well taps into their own personal grief. It may help people through that – I like to see that as the last duty of the Queen.”

Paul Logan, who sells the magazine at Oxford Circus in central London, said there was a sense of quiet about the city as Londoners adjusted to the news.

“It seems very quiet and it feels very different,” he said.

“The Queen has been an institution for 72 years. There’s a sense of security and stability that goes with that. It’s something very familiar. It’s a sea change and we’re stepping into new territory. For the majority of people the Queen was the only thing they’ve known for a lifetime and things are going to change, our money’s going to change.

“I was never a real fanatic of the royals but I feel a real sense of loss in regards to that stability and how she maintained that duty for so long.”

Support The Big Issue

Give your local vendor a hand up and buy the magazine

Each of our vendors buy their copies of the mag for £1.50 each, selling them for £3 and keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor.

Logan grew up in Canada where the Queen was also head of state and he told The Big Issue she was just as revered across the Atlantic.

“She was very, very popular over there,” he added. “You have to remember the large majority of Canadians are immigrants from the UK and other Commonwealth countries. There’s a strong calling for the royal family in Canada. They’d identify much more with that than their neighbours in the south.

“I remember when the Queen was on tour there. There was train that she travelled on that passed through our town of Halton Hills in Ontario and I remember going up to the train tracks and putting coins on the tracks so they got flattened by the train. It was a souvenir to mark the occasion of her being there.”

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