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Much-loved vendor Bubble has already felt the power of returning to his pitch

Birmingham seller Karl Lamsdale was given a boost when he could sell the magazine again following a suspected hit-and-run incident in 2018 that left him gravely injured. He’s looking forward to the uplifting feeling of going back to work once more

Bubble Jon Hyde

Karl Lamsdale knows a thing or two about coming back from adversity. He battled back to his pitch to sell the magazine following 92 days spent in hospital recovering from a suspected hit-and-run incident in 2018.

The Birmingham Snow Hill station vendor, known as ‘Bubble’ to his regular customers, showed incredible strength and resilience to return to his pitch following the incident which left him with broken bones, sepsis and suffering two heart attacks.

After being struck down in January 2018, he didn’t leave hospital until his April 27 birthday before making a triumphant return to his pitch that June. Karl bravely told his story in his own words in The Big Issue as he graced the cover of the magazine – if you haven’t read his inspirational tale, check it out here.

Catching up with The Big Issue while in lockdown at a flat in Hockley, Birmingham, Karl said that returning to sell the magazine was such a huge boost to his wellbeing at that time.

Now the 54-year-old is temporarily off the pitch where he has sold the magazine for two decades, the prospect of selling the magazine again after the coronavirus pandemic eases will be a welcome one.

“I’m surviving. It’s been awkward at times but I’m getting there, getting stronger all the time. It gave me such a boost going back to work with my recovery – although it’s quite strange selling a magazine of yourself,” he told The Big Issue.

“I had to learn to walk and get stronger all the time. Everyday things like putting on shoes or opening a jar, I couldn’t do anything to start with so I had a mate staying with me until I could get stronger and do more and more slowly but surely.

“I never expected the incident at all. A split-second changes your life. But you have to just pick yourself up and get on with it. It’s all you can do.”

The Big Issue is continuing to support Karl while he is off the streets and unable to sell the magazine.

But that hasn’t stopped him missing his customers on his pitch. He has been messaging some of them and asking staff at stores near his pitch to let them know that he’s okay.

Karl added: “I’m bored senseless at the moment. Not being able to sell the magazine came out of the blue. I was not expecting anything like this to come out of the coronavirus pandemic. I don’t think anybody expected this when they first heard about it.

“I’ve had a few vouchers from The Big Issue which have helped with the shopping and they’re always there on the end of the phone if I need anything.

“I want to say hello to all my customers and that I hope they’re all well and I hope to see them all soon.”

The Big Issue carry on helping Karl through these uncertain times until he can return to his pitch. But we can only continue to do so with your support. Subscribe to The Big Issue to receive a copy of the magazine directly to your door or device – head to bigissue.com/subscribe for more details.

You can also pick up a magazine in Sainsbury’s, McColl’s, Co-op, Asda and WH Smith or order one-off editions or subscribe via The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store and Google Play.

Image: John Hyde

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If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
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