Rob has been involved with The Big Issue since the very beginning. He was sleeping rough on Victoria Street in London in 1991 when he received his first magazines to sell as an alternative to begging.
Since then he has sold the magazine on and off, but he will be enlisting the help of Big Issue sales and operations offices all over the country as he makes his way southwards.
Rob will be starting at John O’Groats before walking down to Wick and making his way to Edinburgh from there. Once he makes it to England, he will be moving down the east of the country, taking in Newcastle and Hull as well as Norwich, Essex, Kent and across the south coast before going to Plymouth and on to the finishing point at Land’s End.
It’s the reverse of how Garry Buchan travelled through the country. The then-Bristol vendor opted for speed when he went from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 81 days in 2018.
But Rob insists that his customers will miss him as he vacates his pitch for up to two years to complete his challenge.
“All my customers are going to miss me. I’ve been on my pitch in Longfield for 16 years on and off so everybody knows me,” Rob told The Big Issue. “When you’re selling The Big Issue, you are also helping people. You’re helping people to fetch a trolley or helping the old lady across the road. You’re meeting people and that’s what life’s all about – you’re not just stood there selling the magazine. You put a little bit in then you get a little bit out, you put nothing in, you get nothing out.”
Rhys Corley-Morgan, The Big Issue’s sales and operations manager, added: “Rob is undertaking a really exciting and difficult challenge and The Big Issue Operations team will be giving him as much support as we possibly can, both morally and by enabling him to sell The Big Issue magazine in as many locations as possible during his walk.
“It’ll be a big task, with our teams in Scotland, North East England, East Anglia, South East England and the South Coast all working together to give Rob the best support we can.”
Rob will be keeping his supporters informed of his progress with newly set-up Twitter and Instagram accounts. See how he gets on here.