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Forget the BAFTAs, ex-Bournemouth vendor Bill is up for a BAPTA award

The 63-year-old brewery tour guide is through to the final of the Shining Star and Rising Star categories at the Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Awards

Big Issue vendor Bill Webb Southbourne Ales

Bill Webb. Image: Southborne Ales

Former Bournemouth Big Issue vendor Bill Webb could soon be toasting BAPTA success after impressing customers with his brewery tours.

The 63-year-old hung up his red tabard last April after getting a job taking customers around the Poole Hill Brewery just yards from his own pitch in the Dorset town.

And he insists it has been “a great year” that could be topped off with wins in the Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Awards’ (BAPTA) Shining Star and Rising Star categories.

Bill was nominated by his boss Jennifer Tingay and has already progressed past the public vote. He will now face the judges to see if he will end up winning the gongs on March 14.

“I’m really proud and humbled at the same time,” Bill told The Big Issue. “It’s only been a year since I Ieft The Big Issue and I have come so far.

“I’m really enjoying doing the tours, they are great fun. It’s a job that I never thought that I would enjoy this much. It’s been a great year.”

Bill is a former British Army medic who was rough sleeping in a cave and walking the coast with his pet dog before he came to The Big Issue.

He sold the magazine outside the Apcoa Car Park in Bournemouth which is just yards from the Southbourne Ales base where he now works.

And he insists that he still has strong links with The Big Issue Foundation, our charitable arm, even after securing his new role.

Bill Webb
Bill-Webb_MUST-CREDIT-BOURNEMOUTH-DAILY-ECHO
Bill is planning on working at Southbourne Ales until his retirement Credit: Bournemouth Daily Echo

“It’s only a few doors down so I still see everybody,” said Bill. “We put on a quiz every month and every third one is for charity so I did that for The Big Issue Foundation back in October, raising £250 and we also fundraised by selling unwanted Christmas presents, raising £170.

“I’ll also be doing The Big Night Walk in three weeks’ time – it’s been good to give something back because The Big Issue did so much for me.

“I’ve got a good feeling about the awards and I’ll be making sure my tours are as good as they can be until then because there could be a judge among my customers watching me.”

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