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London Bridge Big Issue vendor pays tribute to victims

London Bridge vendor Keith joins thousands at the vigil for the terrorist attack victims – which included Canadian homeless shelter worker, Christine Archibald, whose death has inspired acts of kindness

Big Issue vendor Keith joined thousands others paying tribute to the victims of the terror attack in the capital at the London Bridge vigil on Monday.

Keith sells the magazine at London Bridge station, close to the site of Saturday night’s attack in which seven people were killed and another 48 were injured.

The Big Issue man laid flowers and held a sign that read: “Be strong, be vigilant, us Londoners will NOT be scared of terrorism.”

Keith, born and raised in South London and a big Millwall FC fan, said: “We live in scary times but this city is resilient.”

“I have had some good jobs, but selling The Big Issue is the one I enjoy the most,” he explained.

“I love interacting with people. If they buy a Big Issue, that is a bonus. If not, it’s “Have a lovely day, nice to meet you!” That is how I work. On the whole my glass is half full, not half empty.”

His gesture was noted by people who declared the act as a great example of British spirit. Kate Talbot tweeted, “London: where a homeless man spends money from Big Issue sales to buy flowers for strangers #lovelondon #londonbridge”, while Aimee added, “‘Cockney’ Keith is amazing, I always see him at #LondonBridge giving tourists directions and asking if they are ok. #LondonIsOpen”.

London: where a homeless man spends money from Big Issue sales to buy flowers for strangers

Twitter user @vhb49 summed it up best, “Cockney Keith has the most important things in life: optimism, openness & love. He’s a #Londoner#TrueBrit”.

A minute’s silence was held at 11am across the UK as a mark of respect for the victims.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stood alongside emergency service workers at the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service.

#ChrissySentMe

Though it seemed impossible as news broke of the London terrorist attack – the third to shake Britain in three months – after the dark events light began to shine.

The first victim of the attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market to be named was 30-year-old Canadian social worker Christine Archibald, who had worked at Alpha House, a homeless shelter in downtown Calgary.

A statement released by her family, showing remarkable dignity and restraint, called for hope not hate, inspired by Chrissy.

Christine Archibald

“We grieve at the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister,” it read. “She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected.

“She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. Please honour her by making your community a better place.

“Volunteer your time and labour or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.”

Please honour her by making your community a better place

Immediately that sentiment spread far and wide on social media and beyond, with #ChrissySentMe trending as people started donating to homeless charities or volunteering their time to help others.

Kathy Christiansen, a colleague at Alpha House, said the hashtag had “become kind of a movement” and was “a wonderful tribute to Chrissy”.

A fund set up in her memory quickly went beyond its $20,000 target and her family plan to start a foundation in her name – but more than this is the priceless, countless acts of kindness Chrissy continues to inspire.

Keith photo: Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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