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Will Adams, 27, outside O2, High Street, Exeter

“Kids needs the best start in life, so I’m fundraising for Great Ormond Street”

I’ve been selling the magazine on and off for the last two years and I can honestly that The Big Issue saved my life. I used to be heavily addicted to Spice but selling The Big Issue gave me something to do and kept me busy and my mind off Spice. If it wasn’t for The Big Issue then I think that I would have died from it. I think that The Big Issue is a great thing and I want to tell as many people as I can what a brilliant organisation they are because I believe that they can help a lot more people.

I think that The Big Issue is a great thing and I want to tell as many people as I can what a brilliant organisation they are

I also want to help people and I’ve decided to do one big thing every year. Later this year I’m planning to do a tour of Devon and Cornwall in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I’ll be selling the magazine in different places for a few days at a time and camping out so I’m looking for sponsors to help me get equipment like a sleeping bag, walking boots and all the usual stuff really.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and lost everything – I have no one to blame but myself for that – but I think it is most important for kids to get the best start in life so that’s why 50 per cent of my magazine sales will go to Great Ormond Street. I had been rough sleeping for a little while but I’m renting a room from some friends and they will be helping to support me as I travel in the next few months – it’s a nice to have a safe place to stay if I need it.

I’ve been on this pitch for the majority of my time with The Big Issue so I have 15 to 20 regular customers now who will only buy from me. They’re really lovely and will buy me a coffee and stop for a chat when they come to get the magazine, they even get me a card at Christmas time. My regulars more than balance out some of the negative comments you get from people.

My regulars are really lovely and will buy me a coffee and stop for a chat

I’m originally from the West Midlands, but I’ve been down south for the last five years or so. I’m a big Aston Villa fan and I used to go to Villa Park all the time as a youngster when I lived there. We’ve been doing really well recently and I think we’ll definitely get into the top six of the Championship.

My favourite hobby

I’m an avid airsoft paintballer. I love the adrenaline and the camaraderie that comes from working together. I don’t even mind the pain from getting shot.

My favourite author

I’m a big reader and it used to really help when I was rough sleeping in doorways. I love Patricia Cornwell and Ken Follett and, of course, everyone loves a bit of Tolkien.

On my pitch… I’m outside O2 on Exeter High Street, Mondays to Fridays, from 9am until 3pm

Photo: Kevin Cowell 

O2 Shop Exeter, High Street, Exeter, UK

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