Housing

‘A wicked sense of humour’ Popular Big Issue vendor Lucas Tontarski has died

The Plymouth seller died suddenly on July 3 at the age of 40. He is fondly remembered by Big Issue staff in the city

Big Issue staff have paid tribute to popular Plymouth vendor Lucas Tontarski after the “warm and caring” seller died suddenly earlier this month.

Lucas, who used the anglicised spelling of his name Lukasz because he “felt so at home in the UK” according to Big Issue outreach worker Sue Owen, died after collapsing at his home on July 3. A post-mortem examination is underway to investigate Lucas’ death.

The 40-year-old sold The Big Issue magazine for five years at Plymouth’s North Cross Roundabout and was renowned for starting his day early to greet commuters arriving at the city from the nearby train station.

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Lucas had a big impact on his customers in Plymouth and one of his regulars came to his aid when he struggled to sell the magazine while managing joint and muscle pain. Lucas’ customer donated an old mobility scooter to help the Big Issue vendor, according to Owen.

“He frequently joked it would speed up my outreach if I jumped on the back,” she said.

“Lucas was a warm and caring vendor who could talk for hours. He often called the office for a chat but I think he loved to fuss over those he loved. He was happiest at home, with his partner and pets, his family, which he adored.

“Mostly, I remember his wicked sense of humour and cheeky laugh. The office is a quieter place without him. He will be hugely missed by customers and vendors alike.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes right now. One UK household is being made homeless every three-and-a-half hours.

You can help stop a potential avalanche of homelessness by joining The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign. Here’s how:

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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