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Terry Cokeley, Co-op, Crofton Park, Lewisham, London

Terry’s a big football fan, though these days he’s more of a spectator than a player. He likes to go to a game with his friends most Saturdays

I used to sell the magazine at Forest Hill rail station, but I moved to the Co-op here at Crofton Park in May because it’s nearer to my home, basically. It’s just a mile away from where I live now. I’ve lived in supported housing since 2017 because I have a few health problems. It’s alright, it’s a roof over my head! 

I’ve not always been in London, I moved here when I was 10. I don’t mind it in London but I’d much rather be with my family over in Ireland. I saw them at my brother’s funeral recently. He died after a long illness. I’ve been OK since he died, but there definitely is some sadness there.  

My health has meant I’ve had to stop doing things like football refereeing – I used to do that at a football group at Millwall, but I had to give it up because of my breathing problems. They’re not so bad unless I run. That makes it worse so I try not to run so much nowadays. I do find I get a bit tired and sleepy now when I finish selling the magazine on my pitch. I have to say I didn’t sell the day it was really hot in London last month, it was roasting just being at home. 

I have been selling the magazine for a long, long time to be fair. I started in 1999 and I’ve been inside through that time too. I was able to start selling the magazine when I got out and that was really helpful. I don’t have any plans to stop any time soon. I want to keep selling it until I’m really, really old! Once I get a bit older, maybe when I’m about 70 I reckon I’ll take it easy from The Big Issue and have a bit of a rest. But until then it gets me out and I like just talking about things, I enjoy that. It’s what it’s all about for me. The other good thing is I have a cafe right near me and there are nice people there. I don’t have any particular tactics for selling the magazine, I just show it around to the customers really. I like to keep it quite chilled. My customers have been good to me, put it that way. I enjoy meeting them. I hope they’ll keep buying the magazine and enjoying it too. 

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Things have been good on my pitch recently, but it varies. Sometimes it’s good one week and then it can be bad the week after. It gets like that sometimes. I’ve got a few customers who go past regularly and buy the mag, sometimes I get a drink off them as well. 

Away from my pitch, I like going for a drink with my friend in the pub. I also play pool quite a bit. I’m not too bad; sometimes I beat my friends but not all the time. I’m really into football too. I used to play quite a lot at school for a team called the Bethnal Green Strikers. Nowadays I’m a bit older so I have to stick to being a fan. 

I’m a Manchester United fan and I think we’ll be alright this season, I don’t think it will be as bad as last season. It was a hard watch sometimes. Though I go and watch a team called Sutton United, I’ve been following them for a long time. They just missed out on the playoffs in League Two this season but I don’t think they’ll go up this year either. I try and get to their games most Saturdays and it’s been good to see them going up through the leagues into the Football League. I like meeting all my friends at the games, that’s the best bit. 

Interview: Liam Geraghty

Co-op Food - Crofton Park, Brockley Road, London, UK