Big Issue vendors sell the magazine for different reasons – to make ends meet, to improve themselves, to become part of the community. For loved-up couple Lon Faram and Maxine Walters, the goal is to get married. The pair sell the magazine in Bristol with Faram, 48, vending outside Boots and Walters, 44, outside Superdrug so they’re “always in sight of one another”.
After Faram proposed with the money saved up from selling the magazine, the pair are hoping to tie the knot in the Bristol registry office in the spring.
“Believe it or not, we’ll finish one another’s sentences off and we know what each other is thinking,” said Faram, who told The Big Issue he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following his military service. “She’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever known both inside and outside. Sometimes I get a bit panicky and so it’s nice to see each other when we’re selling the magazine and I don’t get night terrors so much now I’m with Maxine.
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“We’ve got the engagement ring, a lovely nine-carat gold ring with a diamond in. Now every spare penny we’ve got is going towards the wedding. At one time we had a problem with the misuse of drugs but now we’re on a methadone programme and we’re not spending money on drugs or anything like that, we’re spending it on the wedding. Life’s never been so good. She’s made me the happiest man ever.”
The pair knew each other as teenagers before losing touch after Faram joined the Army. They ran into each other once more in Stoke-on-Trent in February last year and have been inseparable ever since. Walters, who suffered a brain haemorrhage at the age of 19, said she had no hesitation in saying yes when Faram popped the question in Bristol last year. She thought Faram was producing a flower at Bristol’s Eastville Park when she saw the ring in his hand.