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Late vendor Dianne Cumper's sister is doing the Big Night Walk in her memory

Joanne Cumper vows to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with vendors at The Big Issue Foundation event on March 9

Dianne Cumper

The sister of late Big Issue vendor Dianne Cumper has told of the emotional reason why she is taking part in the Big Issue Foundation’s Big Night Walk in her sister’s memory.

Barnstaple seller Dianne died aged 45 on August 14 last year just a few weeks after she began selling The Big Issue magazine.

Now her sister Joanne Cumper has revealed that she will be taking on the London event – in honour of our charitable arm The Big Issue Foundation – after the support she received from vendors in the wake of Dianne’s death inspired her.

Dianne Cumper shrine
Dianne-Cumper-shrine
Vendors came together to create a shrine to remember Dianne Cumper on her pitch in the days following her death (Credit: Joanne Cumper)

Joanne, who will be taking part with her twin sister, partner and more on March 8, was deeply affected by a shrine that vendors put together on Dianne’s pitch as well as their attendance at her funeral two weeks after her death.

“I was so touched that Di’s fellow vendors put up a shrine on her pitch,” said Joanne. “We saw it while we were on the way to her funeral when we saw people stopping to look at a picture of her. And then at the service I had a poem to read that was seven lines long and at about line five I was too upset to continue and a vendor stood up to finish it for me – it was such a lovely moment.

We as a family are so grateful to vendors.

Dianne was a former NHS paediatric nurse who fell on hard times after struggling with mental health issues.

Joanne insists that, with the help of her family and The Big Issue, Dianne had been “on the road to recovery” in the days and weeks before her death, which is still unexplained with an inquest scheduled for April 23.

The Cumper family had helped Dianne to get her Big Issue tabard and supported her by buying the latest magazine off her every week.

Joanne had also gifted Dianne an iPhone for her birthday on August 10 – just four days before her death – which had allowed her to speak to her family.

“We do not judge people, especially those who have been through trauma like Dianne,” she said. “She was a very well-respected sister and paediatric nurse who had a lot of trauma in her life that unfortunately ended up with her having a breakdown. We, as a family, were crying out to try and get help for her, and it is important to know that she was loved.

“The sad thing is that Di was starting to get better, she was living in supported accommodation and on the road to recovery.”

After being cancelled because of the Beast from the East last year, TBIF’s 2019 Big Night Walk will see 400 people walk 13 miles through the streets of the English capital.

Starting off in central London at Shoreditch Town Hall, the route will take in the city’s iconic sites at night as well as offering eye-opening insights from Big Issue vendors.

“We are standing shoulder to shoulder with people who are deserve our support and not our judgement,” said Joanne. “I think doing the walk in memory of Dianne makes a lot of sense.”

If you would like to get involved in the Big London Night Walk then head here or you can support Joanne here

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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