Monica, 30, outside the Lion and Lamb, Farnham, Surrey

Monica moved from Moldova 15 years ago. She likes being in Farnham because the customers are so kind, and some even buy treats for her children

I like it very much in Farnham. That’s not because I sell more magazines here – sometimes in the last few months I’ve only been able to sell about 10 – I like it in Farnham because there are good people here who are very kind to me. They speak nicely to me and even if they don’t buy a magazine they are pleasant to speak to – and all of my customers have a very nice heart. They really make me happy when I’m feeling sad. They are very special people to me.

I’ve been on my pitch in Farnham for eight years, before that I was selling in Alton for around four years but I found that a lot of the shops were closing, so I decided to move. I still go there every now and again.

As well as buying the magazine, my customers get me a hot chocolate when I’m out in the cold and sometimes buy me treats like sweets and chocolate. I particularly want to thank my customer Vicky, who buys the magazine from me but also helps me with sweets for my children as well as paper and paints for them. It’s really nice to have her help. In fact, one of my customers even put me forward for this interview about my pitch – so thanks to Harvey. People like him in Farnham make me feel very happy.

I live in Croydon but I have to get the train to my pitch, which can be expensive. I could sell the magazine in Croydon, but I like it in Farnham too much. What time I get to my pitch depends on the train from Croydon because it is often delayed and sometimes it’s cancelled. If I wake up at seven o’clock in the morning I will be on my pitch for nine, but sometimes it can be 11 or 11.30 as I can be waiting for an hour, even two, for the train. Sometimes I even have to come home. But it’s important that I have my regular customers in Farnham.

The pandemic was really bad for me. The street has been very quiet, and sometimes customers have said to me that they are not going to buy the magazine. Sometimes it was only Vicky who would buy one. It has meant that sometimes I have had a few issues left over. But it is getting a little busier now.

I moved to the UK from Moldova 15 years ago. I really like it here and I don’t miss Moldova much, even though I have family over there who I keep in touch with. It’s too cold in Moldova, it’s freezing all the time and here is a lot better. Everything is better here – my children are well, they are safe here and that is important to me.

I have six children and it is hard work looking after them. I spend a lot of my time cooking, cleaning and washing their clothes, so I don’t always have time to do other things. I do like to go to the park with my children when I can. I am lucky because I have a lady who can look after them and that means I can go to Farnham to sell the magazine. 

I sell the magazine to support my children, and my dream for them is that they have a life that is better than mine.

Interview: Liam Geraghty 

113 West Street, Farnham, UK