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Birmingham vendor who battled back from coma reunited with regulars

Reader Jemma and son Harry were delighted to see Karl ‘Bubble’ Lamsdale back on his pitch

Karl Bubble Lamsdale Harry

Big Issue vendor Karl Lamsdale has had an emotional reunion with a young regular after battling from life-threatening injuries to return to his pitch.

The Birmingham vendor, known as Bubble, spent 92 days in hospital, including five weeks in a coma, after a suspected hit-and-run left him with extensive injuries in March.

The 52-year-old, who has sold the magazine for 18 years, returned to his Snow Hill Station pitch on June 7 where he met reader Jemma and son Harry.

Harry Karl Bubble Lamsdale
Harry-and-Bubble-hero
Reader Harry was delighted to see vendor Bubble back on his pitch Image: Big Issue reader Jemma

The pair got in touch with The Big Issue in April to ask about Karl’s condition with the youngster asking us to pass on an Easter card that he had written for the vendor. But today Harry was beaming after being reunited with Karl, who is in a wheelchair while he recovers from his injuries.

“My son has built up a friendship with one of your vendors over the past seven years. Harry has to attend Birmingham Children’s Hospital regularly and always looks forwards to seeing Bubble,” said Jemma. “He has been upset the past few times we have been as he has been missing.

“Harry was so happy coming out of the hospital today, Bubble’s back!”

Speaking to Birmingham Live earlier this week, Karl insisted he was thrilled to return to work after overcoming his injuries.

He suffered a fractured spine and pelvis in the accident, as well as breaking his hip, shoulder and ankle and nine ribs. He had an emergency operation, where his heart stopped once, and he suffered another heart attack immediately after surgery.

But he said: “Even though I wasn’t there long [on the first day], the number of people who came up to me in the morning was phenomenal – I spent more time talking than selling!”

Karl Lamsdale Bubble
Karl-Lamsdale-Bubble-hero
Bubble spent five weeks in a coma after a suspected hit and run incident earlier this year

Jon Hyde, Birmingham team leader for The Big Issue, said: “It’s great to have him back.

“It’s obviously early days, and we’re taking it a step at a time. He worked on Thursday and Friday and then over the weekend, so we’re just seeing how it goes.

“All the locals and his regulars seem happy to see him. When he disappeared from his pitch we had loads of people contacting us to see what had happened, he’s such a fixture there.

“The chair has been provided by the manager of the train station, and they’re happy to keep it for him and look after him.”

West Midlands Police told The Big Issue in March: “Enquiries are continuing into a non-stop collision in Hockley in January, which left a 51-year-old man with life-threatening injuries.” A spokesman added: “The offending car has been recovered and a 21-year-old man has been voluntarily interviewed.”

The case has now been referred to the CPS.

Image: Big Issue readers Jemma and Harry

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