Our vendors: Christopher (Big Issue North, Liverpool, UK)

Interview by Christian Lisseman, for Big Issue North

Hi Christopher, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 63 years old and I have sold Big Issue North for 12 years. I am originally from Sri Lanka.

Why did you leave there?

I am a Tamil. And there were a lot of problems for Tamils in Sri Lanka. There was a bad civil war there and many, many people died. I lost a lot of family members and if I had stayed I would have died too. I left in 1999 and lived in London for two years, then I came to Liverpool.

Do you like Liverpool?

I love Liverpool. They are the number one people – very lovely people who help. They bring me coffee, breakfast, supper. I am very happy, I love it here. When I lived in London I started to support Liverpool Football Club. And so it was meant to be that I came here.

Who do you admire?

My mother. She was someone who gave me life, and I am standing here now because of her. My father died before I was born and so my mother brought me up alone along with my seven sisters. I have no idea where my family is now. After the war in Sri Lanka we were all split up. One of my sisters went to Cambridge and got a law degree. One of them lives in Canada. But we have not spoken for many years.

Where do you live now?

I used to live in a hostel but my friend Deva has taken me in and I live at his house now. He first saw me selling the magazine and he started to talk to me. He also comes from Sri Lanka.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to read English newspapers. And I like watching Tamil films and also cooking and gardening. Deva has a big garden. I come from a family of farmers.

Do you ever miss Sri Lanka?

If I went back to Sri Lanka I would have nowhere to go and there is no one there for me now. It is a sad feeling but if I lived there I would be dead. I have a happy and peaceful life now. Liverpool is my home.

What are your hopes for the future?

I am getting quite old. I am happy to sell the magazine and I wish all the people of Liverpool to be happy and live in peace.

INSP publishes an international vendor story every week. Come back next Wednesday to read another story from one of the thousands of inspirational men and women who sell street papers. Check out our past interviews here.