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Video: Sam Fender brought to tears by Big Issue vendor’s story

Watch chart-topping singer Sam Fender and Big Issue vendor Earl discuss homelessness and how The Big Issue changes lives

Sam Fender and Big Issue vendor Earl John Charlton

Sam Fender and Big Issue vendor Earl John Charlton had an emotional conversation

Pop star Sam Fender has been brought to tears by the resilience of his local Big Issue vendor, Earl John Charlton.

At just 26, Sam has already had a number one album, Hypersonic Missiles, been named one of the BBC’s Sound of 2018 picks and won the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards. He has decided to use his rapidly growing platform on behalf of those without a home this Christmas.

His latest single, Winter Song, was released in collaboration with The Big Issue to raise awareness about homelessness and the incredibly difficult year that vendors have faced.

“I love making music. But musicians, we’re primarily just entertainers. So at times it can feel like a quite a vacuous, almost selfish existence,” said Sam.

“To do something like this gives my job a bit more clout and makes me feel like I’m actually doing something which is helpful. And I think that’s more rewarding than playing to 50,000 people.”

Ahead of the release, he met up with Newcastle-based vendor Earl to hear more about how The Big Issue helps people.

On the call, 42-year-old Earl explained how he’d overcome addiction and homelessness with the support of The Big Issue.

“From 19 years old until a few years ago I was on heroin, crack cocaine, methadone, alcohol and all that,” said Earl.

“It was back in London, to change my life around I engaged with what I am now – a very proud Big Issue vendor. I’m coming up to five years clean.”

Sam said speaking to Earl left him “speechless” and he wished that “everybody in the country” could hear him talk about his life.

“It’s a really powerful story,” Sam told Earl. “I just want to say well done for carrying the fire all the way. And taking the adversity and fighting it. I’m absolutely honoured to meet you.”

Sam has shared a powerful video of his conversation with Earl with the hundreds of thousands of fans that follow him on social media. The clip [above] shows the emotional moment when Earl took the opportunity to urge the public to remember Big Issue vendors at Christmastime.

“I’m lucky enough to have a roof over my head, being a Big Issue vendor this Christmas. There’s far too many others that haven’t,” said Earl.

“So, if you can, look in your hearts, dig deep in your pockets and subscribe to The Big Issue. You’re not just helping me, you’re helping over 2,000 vendors nationwide to keep on the right track. It can’t be done without you, the general public.”

To read more of Sam and Earl’s conversation, buy The Big Issue online or from your local vendor.  

Winter Song is available to stream and download now. Sam Fender also appears on the cover of a special edition of The Big Issue, exclusively available from samfender.com. Proceeds from the sale of this magazine will go to vendors.

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.
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