DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
News

'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.

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

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.”

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

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.

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
How Nigel Farage could become next Tory leader – and why we all should be concerned
General election 2024

How Nigel Farage could become next Tory leader – and why we all should be concerned

Greek coastguards 'throwing migrants to their deaths' may be repeated in Britain, leaders warned
Greek coastguard ship carrying migrants
Immigration

Greek coastguards 'throwing migrants to their deaths' may be repeated in Britain, leaders warned

One in five Brits say they feel 'reluctant' just talking to someone with a learning disability
Learning disability week 2024

One in five Brits say they feel 'reluctant' just talking to someone with a learning disability

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate on winning gold and being told she doesn't look disabled enough
Jessica-Jane Applegate
Learning Disability Week 2024

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate on winning gold and being told she doesn't look disabled enough

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