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Late Big Issue seller Dean Williams remembered as ‘outgoing friend to everyone’

Tributes have been paid to popular Cardiff Big Issue vendor Dean Williams, who died last month at the age of 45.

Much-loved Big Issue seller Dean Williams, who was known as an “outgoing friend to everyone” on his Cardiff pitch, has died at the age of 45.

The popular vendor, who sold the magazine around the Welsh capital for almost five years, was found dead in his flat last month. 

Big Issue staff have paid their respects to Dean, who moved to Cardiff from his native Yorkshire almost two decades ago after working all around the UK as a labourer.

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“Deano was a kind and outgoing friend to everyone, with a drive to help others and do his very best to support his friends and fellow vendors in their own struggles,” said Big Issue Cymru sales and outreach worker David Rees.

“He’ll be well remembered by regular readers around Cardiff for his familiar cry of “Big Issue, ladies and gents” while his dog, Levi, went ruthlessly running after any innocent passing skateboards, Deano’s mags between his teeth.

“Other vendors past and present will mourn the loss of someone they could talk to about anything without judgement.”

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Dean became a well-known figure in Cardiff during his time selling The Big Issue.

He started selling the magazine after overcoming problems with addiction. Even though he was clean, he found himself in a “bit of a slump” he told The Big Issue in a 2017 interview.

Dean Williams Homeless World Cup
Vendor Dean Williams got the chance to meet a counterpart from Korea while selling at the Homeless World Cup tournament in Cardiff in 2019. Image: The Big Issue

Dean said: “People I knew said I should do something new, something positive. So that’s what I did. It’s given me some money, my confidence back, and experience with a different kind of work.”

But he found a sense of belonging not only in selling the magazine but also as part of The Big Issue Cymru’s football team playing in leagues run by Street Football Wales (SFW) – the governing body running homeless football in Wales.

Dean’s involvement in the football scene saw him invited to trials for the SFW’s team to represent Wales at the annual Homeless World Cup.

Despite his Yorkshire roots, Dean considered himself an adopted Welshman. 

He added: “I’ve lived in Cardiff longer than anywhere. There have been some bad times here but I’ve got huge affection for the place. I’ve got friends, people in the city are generally very friendly. I’m a bit of a history buff, and there’s a lot of interesting history here – Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Museum, the dockland area.”

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According to Rees, Dean will be remembered as a Big Issue vendor who was keen to get involved in every activity he could.

“All the Big Issue staff in Cardiff will remember an enthusiastic guy who took part in everything we offered, most memorably as a part of our league-winning street football team, and even got invited to trials for the Welsh Homeless World Cup team,” added Rees. 

“He’ll be greatly missed by all of us here in south Wales.”

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Support The Big Issue and our vendors this Christmas

Every time you buy a copy of The Big Issue, subscribe or donate, you are helping our vendors to work their way out of poverty by providing 'a hand up not a hand out.' You’re helping Big Issue vendors achieve their #BigWish

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