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'Such a sad loss' – popular Big Issue vendor dies

Tributes paid to London Big Issue vendor Chris McCormack, a popular figure in the Maida Vale area

The Big Issue is reeling from the sad news of the death of Chris McCormack, the popular vendor who sold the magazine outside Maida Vale tube station.

A highly regarded figure in the area, his family and friends paid tribute to his warm and friendly character.

It comes just days after news of Brighton vendor Bob McLeod’s death, another much-loved member of his community.

He loved working for The Big Issue and gained a lot of friends through it

The actor Hugh Grant was among Chris’s customers when he sold the magazine in Notting Hill during some evenings. Other famous figures who bought the magazine from him in west London include Jonathan Ross, Damon Albarn and Bryan Adams.

Chris’s brother Fred spoke of a person who was at ease with people from all walks of life. “He loved working for The Big Issue and seems to have gained a lot of friends through it and touched a lot of people’s lives,” he said.

“I’ve had a phenomenal amount of condolences and messages of support.

“It’s just such a sad loss and a very sad time for his mum and I. But the level of generosity and affection for Chris has been really appreciated.”

Chris grew up in west London, but fell upon hard times in the early 2000s. He sold The Big Issue for a short time during the last decade, and came back to selling the magazine again just over five years ago.

Chris, a big Chelsea FC fan and music buff, had spoken of the boost in self-esteem and renewed sense of purpose selling the magazine had given him the second time around.

As well as struggling with long-standing addiction issues, Chris had endured ongoing health problems in his last few years, having been in and out of hospital to receive treatment for a spinal disease. In his final months he had spent time in rehabilitation on the south coast before returning to London.

He was a popular, friendly and engaging character

“The support my customers gave me trying to get through things has been unbelievable,” Chris told the magazine back in December 2015.

“You’ve no idea what a difference it makes to have people who care and take an interest. I’d like to thank everyone by name but it would take too long.”

Chris Stuchbery, The Big Issue’s regional manager for London, said: “Chris will be sadly missed by his customers, vendors and staff alike. He was a popular, friendly and engaging character in Maida Vale and made many friends over the years.”

Chris McCormack’s funeral takes place at West London Crematorium, Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Rd at 12.45pm on Wednesday July 26. A fundraising page has been established to help pay for his “great gig in the sky”.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

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.
Vendor martin Hawes

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