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'He would give away his last penny': Tributes paid to late Big Issue seller Martin Chown

Plymouth seller Martin Chown died in January after 15 years of selling The Big Issue around the Devon city

Big Issue vendor Martin CHown

Martin Chown's "cheeky smile" was a familiar sight in Plymouth. Image: Supplied

Popular Big Issue vendor Martin Chown, who became a familiar sight around Plymouth after spending more than 15 years selling the magazine in the city, has died. 

Chown, who was well-known to customers outside Tesco on New George Street and around the Barbican district, passed away on January 4 at the age of 46 following a long battle with addiction.

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Sue Owen, The Big Issue’s frontline vendor support worker in Plymouth, joined past and present vendors as well as Chown’s family and friends at his funeral on February 2.

She remembered Chown as a “quiet vendor with a cheeky smile”.

“Martin was always kind and looked out for others. He would give away his last penny if he thought you needed it more,” said Owen.

“Martin was a vendor when I started 15 years ago and I will remember him as someone who never tried to blame others when things were bad, he took responsibility and kept trying.

“Martin struggled with addictions for most of his life which was intensified by the loss of his elder brother. Martin was a relatively quiet vendor, but his presence and cheeky smile will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”

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The Big Issue’s #BigFutures campaign is calling for investment in decent and affordable housing, ending the low wage economy, and millions of green jobs. The last 10 years of austerity and cuts to public services have failed to deliver better living standards for people in this country. Sign the open letter and demand a better future.

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