Islington Big Issue seller dies: Tributes to 'wonderful' Andy Wotton
PUBLISHED: 16:17 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:14 17 September 2019
A beloved Big Issue seller known for his gentle character and "wonderful" conversation has died.
Andy Wotton, 52, sold the magazine outside Waitrose in Whitecross Street but succumbed to a long-term illness and died on Tuesday last week.
Bereaved community members in the south of the borough have made a shrine of flowers and memories to mark the spot where Andy, originally from Scotland, worked.
Marion Paddock, of Old Street, who'd known Andy for more than a decade, told the Gazette: "He was a lovely bloke.
"Everyone knew him. If you see the tribute outside Waitrose I think you would realise he was popular and well liked.
"He will be very missed. I think as a small community his presence was felt and his loss will be felt."
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Marion said Andy was a gentle man who only spoke kindly of people and was always drinking orange Lucozade and eating vanilla jellies.
"He had lovely lost puppy dog eyes," Marion added, "and sometimes he looked like he carried the world on his shoulders.
"Other times he would give you a cheeky smile. He mattered to me and he mattered to my family and it will be very empty going to Waitrose and not seeing him - it's the community's loss."
She now fears her friend will get a "pauper's burial".
One of the many messages left at his shrine reads: "Andy, I will miss our conversations together and always loved talking to you. You gave me great advice and I miss you so much. Always so friendly and funny. Love and peace. Thank you for your friendship."
Other customers have said Andy kindly watched their bikes and dogs when they popped into the supermarket, and gave out tokens for trolleys to those who'd forgotten them.
Chris Falchi-Stead, director of sales and operations at The Big Issue, said: "Andy was an extremely well loved vendor, and we are all very saddened to hear of his passing. It has been truly humbling for us to have received so many calls from his customers, he touched the hearts of so many. The thoughts of everyone at The Big Issue are with his family at this difficult time."
Cllr Troy Gallagher (Lab, Bunhill) said he was "very sad to hear of Andy's death", adding he'd been "a much loved and familiar face in Whitecross Street, selling The Big Issue outside Waitrose and chatting to locals. Another familiar face gone but not forgotten."