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Dozens of readers flock to Big Issue vendor's pitch for send-off snap

When north London vendor Tiberiu asked his customers to come to his pitch for a photo to say 'thank you', he was left stunned by the response.

More than 50 people turned out for a photo with a Big Issue vendor after he gathered all his regular customers to his pitch to wish him well.

Tiberiu Manea posed for the shot at the spot where he has sold the magazine for just over a year near Seven Sisters tube station in Tottenham, north London, at noon on July 16.

The vendor had asked all the people who supported him during his time in the capital to join him for the photo by handing out letters in the weeks before the snap.

I was happy and very emotional. I have never been that emotional, not even at weddings

And he was left teary-eyed by the reception after being rewarded with a huge turnout to mark the heart-warming occasion.

Emotional Tiberiu, 34, said: “I organised it so that I had something to send to my family in Romania and also something for my ‘family’ in London, that is all those who buy The Big issue from me.

“I wanted a good photo for my Facebook group page as this is how I keep in touch with my friends in London if I am away.

“I was happy and very emotional. I have never been that emotional, not even at weddings.”

Tiberiu revealed that he had planned to bring a parting gift for his customers to mark the occasion.

But despite the disappointment, the vendor insists that he plans to make the photocall an annual event.

He said: “It was a great day. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Big Issue, as it is a great job.

“I want to thank the staff at the Big Issue office in Finsbury Park and a big thank you to all those in Seven Sisters and Tottenham who buy the magazine.

“Thanks to all those who made it for the photograph and sorry if I did not give enough notice to those who couldn’t make it. We’ll do it again next year!”

Vendor Tiberiu asked everyone to join him for the photo as a keepsake for when he returns to his native country Romania for a month in August to help repair his family’s house.

Since becoming a Big Issue seller the transformation in his confidence and demeanour has been an absolute joy to watch

One customer who was moved to attend last Sunday, Adzowa Kwabla-Oklikah, insisted that Tiberiu has been transformed since he began selling the magazine.

The 38-year-old business development manager said: “Tiberiu has been a presence at Seven Sisters tube station for a couple of years. Before he became a Big Issue seller he would sit on the steps, head down, despondent, begging.

“Since becoming a Big Issue seller the transformation in his confidence and demeanour has been an absolute joy to watch.

“These days he’s always stood tall, makes eye contact – which he never did before – and greets me with a big smile and a friendly ‘good morning’.

“On the rare days when he’s not at the station it feels like there’s a part of my day missing.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWmxqbdlx7S/

Adzowa revealed that Tiberiu had penned a ‘warm and sincere’ letter to his regulars in a bid to reunite them all for the photo last Sunday.

Tiberiu was clearly emotional at how many people turned up. To be honest, I think many of us were a little bit choked up. It was a really joyous day

She said: “His letter inviting his supporters to join him for a photo that he could take home and show his children was so warm and sincere.

“I had no idea before that he had a family back in Romania to support. I taped the letter up in my kitchen to make sure I would remember the date.

“The crowd that turned up was great – there was so much love and goodwill for him. Tottenham has a strong sense of community and I’m not surprised that so many people showed up to support Tiberiu.

“Tiberiu was clearly emotional at how many people turned up. To be honest, I think many of us were a little bit choked up. It was a really joyous day.”

https://twitter.com/tr1sarahtops/status/886837336042074112

Reader Fennell Burgess-Simpson also wrote in to share her thoughts on Tiberiu.

She said: “Tiberiu was totally overwhelmed by the numbers who turned up and became quite tearful, got him a lot of sympathy hugs from his friends.

“He helps so many people every day, he carried my heavy suitcase down the stairs for me, he assists ladies with pushchairs and those with heavy shopping bags and his smile quite honestly makes our day.

“He is a gentle man in every respect of the word and although his English is fractured, we all understand him. He will be missed for the month that he is away.”

Pic credit: Jaime Peschiera

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