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Big love in Oz: vendor Trevor gives thanks for his second chance at true romance

Call it fate, call it serendipity,  there’s one thing vendor Trevor and his wife Ellen both thank for bringing them together… The Big Issue Australia. A tale of true romance, Trevor caught Ellen’s eye seven years ago as he sold the magazine of the streets of downtown Sydney.

In their own words, they share their special story…

The Big Issue Australia vendor Trevor and his wife Ellen

Trevor’s story

I met Ellen back in 2009, on my pitch at George and Jamison streets in Sydney’s CBD. She started buying the magazine from me, and later on she said to me: “I want to get to know this bloke, with his long hair and red jacket.” When she walked away, I liked her swagger.

I have The Big Issue Australia and God to thank for finding Ellen. She’d stop by and have a chat. After about six months, I actually asked her out. She’d only just come back from New Zealand as her dad had passed away. She had a bit of a cry on my shoulder in me and I gave her a hug, just the right thing to do I thought.

It was then I decided to get up the courage to ask her out. She said yes.

I chickened out that same weekend though. I had a gambling problem and I didn’t have any money. I was too scared, I didn’t want to embarrass her, but we still stayed in contact.

One afternoon, we were just sat talking, and I happened to touch her hand and I felt this electricity go up all through my body and I thought, “Well, this is the lady for me. And that was it.”

After we’d been going out six or seven months, I proposed. She said yes straight away. I actually asked her three times, I wanted to make sure it was right for us both. We got married on 31 July 2011 at her family home in New Zealand. It was a simple ceremony.

The Big Issue has given me the world of confidence. Before the magazine, I was working as a welder. I was running away from myself at the same time: I had a gambling addiction and I was doing drugs as well. I was so muddled up inside my own head because of the abuse I’d suffered.

I tried to destroy myself through suicide. I had no confidence about myself. I was so scared to face anything.

Since I’ve been with Ellen, everything’s just grown; I’m slowly improving in everything that I do. I think the world of her. When I first met her, I was a smoker. She encouraged me to give up cigarettes, and I’ve been clean ever since… coming up to seven years.

My marriage is going as strong as ever. I’ve helped her gain confidence in herself too. She had no confidence in cooking, and she cooked me this delicious omelette with all these beautiful herbs and tomatoes, and I said, “Wow!” She makes the best omelette ever, and she still does.

When she’s going through some down periods, I’m always there for her. I always try to help her pick up the pieces. I am happy to be married to Ellen. It gives me a sense of being wanted, and being loved. We’re there to help each other, to be kind and gentle to one another.

It’s just great to wake up next to her. She catches the train at 6am, so I hop up with her at 4.30am and make her a cup of tea and see her off to work. And when she comes home I’m always there to greet her with a smile and give her a kiss.

Ellen’s story

Love happened when I least expected it. Trevor was like this beautiful bolt out of the blue. I have a clear vision of the first time we met – he was wearing a red zip-up jacket that he still has, his hair falling down over his eyes.

He stood out to me from the city office workers and something just struck a chord immediately. I found him a really interesting person and I wanted to get to know him and his story a lot more.

I’m a word-processing operator and at that time I worked for a law firm near The Rocks in Sydney, and would walk past Trevor, often stop to buy a magazine and we just got chatting. And then I sort of realised that I was attracted to him.

I tried to subdue it. I’d walk a different way to work or across the opposite side of the road to avoid him, but then I’d look out for him. I was like a teenager. Then I just thought, ‘Don’t be silly.’ It’s wonderful to be given a second chance at love.

Our first or second get-together, I said to Trevor, “You are a really nice person but I don’t want to be with a smoker.” And he immediately grabbed his cigarettes and just squashed them and threw them in the bin and he stopped smoking right then and there. And I thought, “Blimey!” I was really taken aback by it.

I just feel really fortunate having met Trevor. We’ve both been divorced, so you know second time around you’ve got a bit of baggage, but also experience. I moved from the city up to the mountains for Trevor. It’s worth it, it’s worth the commute. It’s so beautiful up here in the Blue Mountains.

I love waking up next to Trevor, the fully clichéd thing. I can be myself and he knows he can be himself with me, we can just let it all hang out.

Our wedding was beautiful. We went over to New Zealand to be with my family. Both my parents have passed away, and it really meant a lot being married in Mum and Dad’s home. The date of our wedding was my mother’s birthday; when I suggested it to Trevor he agreed straight away.

I’m not the white dress kind of person. We both wanted something really intimate with the close family and something really relaxed. It was really lovely, lots of tears flowed with joy.

I hope I’ve been a calming influence on him. I guess I am the organiser and the budget person of our relationship. We were probably about two months into being together, and he said that there was something he wanted to talk to me about.

It was a shock to hear what he’d suffered. I feel quite protective of him sometimes.

Trevor’s had rosacea on his nose. It’s a bit enlarged, and people will stare and kids stare and point sometimes, and my protective instincts kick in. No one’s perfect, but a lot of people have a lot worse hidden flaws. To me, that’s part of his character and I love what I see.

The Big Issue has been a stabilising force in his life. Trevor’s been with the magazine for over 11 years now and he loves it. He’s a people person. I’m very grateful for The Big Issue too. Without it, I doubt Trevor and I would have crossed paths.

Courtesy of The Big Issue Australia / INSP.ngo

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