Britain

Thousands raised for Big Issue seller who cant work after leg amputation

Richard, a homeless man from Lincoln, and stock image of Big Issue seller

The community is chipping in for Richard, who has spent years on the streets (Picture: Getty/Deborah Chester/Facebook)

Kind hearted strangers are helping a man who has spent decades living on the streets and is set to lose his livelihood due to an operation.

Richard, who sells the Big Issue to fund his minimal living expenses, will have to have a leg amputated due to complications caused by his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

He faces being out of work for six to eights weeks, but an online fundraising page set up to help Richard has raised more than £5,000 so far.

It was started by Deborah Chester, who got to know Richard over the years by chatting to him at his pitch outside a Marks and Spencer in Lincoln.

The businesswoman, was briefly homeless herself having after losing her home in New Zealand when a tornado tore it to shreds in 2007.

Fundraiser for homeless man who can't sell Big Issue anymore due to illness (Picture: Deborah Chester)

Richard first became homeless aged 14 (Picture: Deborah Chester)

She says the fundraiser for Richard was meant to be a surprise, but hes well known enough in Lincoln for someone to let him know what was happening.

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Deborah told Metro.co.uk: He was shocked. He was overwhelmed by the love around him and how many people really love and support him.

At first I thought we might get about 500 pound. Never would I of expected to look and see the donations reaching 4,000 in the first 36 hours.

I could just go and hand him some money but its not about that.

Its about the people of Lincolnshire wanting to help Richard out. Everyone seems to love him.

Fundraiser for homeless man who can't sell Big Issue anymore due to illness (Picture: Deborah Chester)

Deborah has had her own experience of homelessness and wanted to help (Picture: Deborah Chester)

Richard, who became homeless at 14 years old, used to travel everywhere with his dog named Stix, who passed away five months ago.

The two became inseparable after Richard rescued him as a puppy and gained a great sense of purpose looking after him.

While plenty of people in Lincoln greet Richard as they walk past, hes unfortunately been targeted with taunts like f*** off and get a job, to which he says he has one.

Richard, who has been housed in a bedsit while he awaits his operation, says his job as a Big Issue seller has enabled him afford the travel fare to occasionally see his grandson outside the city.

He trained as a horticultural engineer and says he would love to go back to it, but his pulmonary condition and irritable bowel syndrome means he doesnt have the strength for it any more.

Even selling the magazine on his pitch can be a challenge due to his breathing difficulties.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Big Issue seller Johnny, 41 works in Covent Garden on October 14, 2016 in London, England. Sir John Bird, who himself has experienced homelessness twice, launched the Big Issue in 1991 with Body Shop Founder Gordon Roddick. October 17 this year marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of The Big Issue, a magazine created to offer homeless people the chance to earn a legitimate income thereby helping them to reintegrate into mainstream society. It is now the world's most widely circulated street newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Launched in 1991, the Big Issue aims to offer a legitimate source of income for people on the streets (Picture: Getty Images)

Deborah, 46, has had a brief spell of homelessness herself and knows how terrifying the prospect can be.

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When her family lived in New Zealand in June 2007, she says she was woken up in the middle of the night by a nightmare about tornadoes.

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Recalling the premonition, she said: I woke in the morning feeling strange about the dream I had had the night before, in fact the dream stayed with me all day.

That same month, she was working at home when her terrified daughter Paige ran to her shouting mummRead More – Source

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