News

Meet the Big Issue vendors selling the magazine to pay for their wedding

Loved-up Big Issue vendors Lon Faram and Maxine Walters have already raised cash for an engagement ring and now have their sights set on tying the knot

Big Issue vendors Lon Faram and Maxine Walters

Photo supplied

Big Issue vendors sell the magazine for different reasons – to make ends meet, to improve themselves, to become part of the community. For loved-up couple Lon Faram and Maxine Walters, the goal is to get married. The pair sell the magazine in Bristol with Faram, 48, vending outside Boots and Walters, 44, outside Superdrug so they’re “always in sight of one another”.

After Faram proposed with the money saved up from selling the magazine, the pair are hoping to tie the knot in the Bristol registry office in the spring.

“Believe it or not, we’ll finish one another’s sentences off and we know what each other is thinking,” said Faram, who told The Big Issue he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following his military service. “She’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever known both inside and outside. Sometimes I get a bit panicky and so it’s nice to see each other when we’re selling the magazine and I don’t get night terrors so much now I’m with Maxine.

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

“We’ve got the engagement ring, a lovely nine-carat gold ring with a diamond in. Now every spare penny we’ve got is going towards the wedding. At one time we had a problem with the misuse of drugs but now we’re on a methadone programme and we’re not spending money on drugs or anything like that, we’re spending it on the wedding. Life’s never been so good. She’s made me the happiest man ever.”

The pair knew each other as teenagers before losing touch after Faram joined the Army. They ran into each other once more in Stoke-on-Trent in February last year and have been inseparable ever since. Walters, who suffered a brain haemorrhage at the age of 19, said she had no hesitation in saying yes when Faram popped the question in Bristol last year. She thought Faram was producing a flower at Bristol’s Eastville Park when she saw the ring in his hand.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

“I was ecstatic,” said Walters. “I knew we were saving up but I didn’t know he’d got the ring so I was a very happy chappy. He’s my everything. I have never been so happy in my entire life. Now I smile every morning, it’s just lovely to wake up with a smile. I’ve never felt like this about anyone. It will be a dream come true to be married to Lon. Sometimes I haven’t got a penny in my pocket but I’m happy all the time.

“Working towards the wedding has made me stronger because every penny is a step closer to the wedding. Before he proposed I used to think marriage was just a piece of paper but now I’m properly in love it means the world to me.”

Big Issue vendors Maxine Walters and Lon Faram
Image: The Big Issue

The happy couple not only had the issue of finding the funds to wed, they also had to overcome the problem of getting a birth certificate too. Neither Faram nor Walters had their certificate or a bank account so The Big Issue has been supporting them to get the vital admin together so they can press ahead with the big day.

“The Big Issue has got us where we want to be,” said Walters. “I’m going to invite Big Issue staff to the wedding because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to raise the money for the ring, the dress and the venue so quickly.”

Faram added: “They’ve been a big help, The Big Issue have. They talk to us like proper human beings as well.”

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.

To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member.

You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election
Trussell Trust food banks
General election 2024

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
Department for Work and Pensions

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?
rents uk
Renting

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know