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Truro M&S store manager takes on Big Issue sell-off challenge

Truro store manager Mark Millbanks took to the streets to sell the magazine outside his store alongside veteran vendor Nick Cuthbert

Nick Cuthbert Mark Millbanks

A Marks & Spencer’s store manager has donned the iconic red Big Issue tabard to sell the magazine in Truro in support of long-time vendor Nick Cuthbert.

Mark Millbanks hit the streets outside his Lemon Quay store in the Cornish city, selling a mammoth 33 magazines in an hour Wednesday morning – although he admitted that he had a helping hand from M&S staff.

Vendor Nick insists the pair topped more than 60 magazines together on his pitch outside the store – but it was an “eye-opener” for Mark to step into his shoes and experience what Big Issue vendors working around the country face every day.

“I’ve been in this store for a couple of years and got to know Nick over that time,” Mark told The Big Issue after his selling stint. “He’s a great guy and when I was challenged to sell the magazine, I was up for it.

“I have always a had a lot of respect for Nick but that is even more so after selling the magazine. I was shocked by how people can treat you when you are selling the magazine, a lot of people were quite rude.

“Nick is out there selling the magazine whether it is rain or shine and while £2.50 is not a lot to many of us, the money can mean a lot to him so it was great to try and raise awareness by selling the magazine.”

Nick, 53, is no stranger to sharing his pitch with others after Dermot O’Leary joined him in 2018 to speak to him about his faithful chocolate Labrador companion Bryony.

And he insisted that Mark’s spell on his pitch has sent tongues wagging among us regular customers.

“It went really well and it has been the talk of the town ever since,” said Nick. “People have been coming up to me and said that they didn’t realise how many magazines I sell and other things about the job.

“I think it was a real eye-opener for Mark about the response you get sometimes and some people can go out of their way to avoid eye contact. But every day is different.

“Marks and Spencer’s have been very supportive of me and Mark stops for a chat all the time. So I’d like to say thanks to them and my customers.”

Nick Cuthbert Mark Millbanks
Nick-Cuthbert-MS-Mark-Millbanks
Vendor Nick (left) insists that the experience was an "eye-opener" for M&S store manager Mark

Steve Carter, Devon & Cornwall team leader at The Big Issue, said: “The sell-off experience was a great opportunity to show Mark, on a small scale, what everyday life selling the magazine on the streets is like for Big Issue vendors.  Mark had the public chuckling with his banter and he stormed the sell off, selling 37 copies.”

“Nick was a fantastic ambassador for The Big Issue, showing him the ropes, providing sales tips as well as sharing his experiences of homelessness and poverty.”

Images: M&S

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