Plaque for Big Issue seller John White

John White sold the Big Issue magazine at the same place in the Meadows for around eight years
John White sold the Big Issue magazine at the same place in the Meadows for around eight years
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A WELL-known Big Issue seller who once sold the magazine to Prince Charles is to be immortalised with a lasting tribute at his Meadows patch.

John White, 69, died at the Western General Hospital in September following a ­cancer battle – just five days after being admitted.

Mr White was a regular at Middle Meadow Walk where he sold the ­charity magazine for around eight years using his distinctive sales pitch “Don’t be shy, give it a try”.

Now the park mainstay will be honoured with a plaque bearing this memorable motto within the grounds of the Meadows.

The cost memorial plaque was raised through crowdfunding and will be fitted next month. Tributes to the popular magazine vendor – who was often spotted singing merrily in his bright jacket and army trousers – flooded into Big Issue offices since his death.

Paul McNamee, editor of The Big Issue, said of the plaque: “This is a wonderful and heartfelt testament to much-loved Big Issue man.

“We should never underestimate the generosity and commitment of people to their Big Issue friends.” Mr White once made a royal sale when Prince Charles bought a Big Issue during a visit to Edinburgh.

But he was not overly excited by the experience later saying: “People talk about these ­celebrities but to me everyone’s just the same, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’ve came from.”

Among those paying tribute is Lord Provost Donald ­Wilson who sold the magazine alongside Mr White as part of the charity’s Big Issue Sell-Off event earlier this year.

He said: “This plaque will be a lasting tribute to a man who put a smile on the faces of a great number of Edinburgh residents and workers.

“The Meadows community held John in very high esteem and it is humbling to see local people come together in this way to mark his life. I hope that passers-by will see the plaque and not only remember John’s cheery spirit, but think about the important issue of homelessness in Edinburgh, and the vital part played by the Big Issue and its many sellers to tackle homelessness.”

Mr White was named Self Publicist of the Year in July at a ceremony to mark the Big Issue in Scotland’s 1000th ­edition and was out working nearly every day to catch the festival crowds.

Cllr Paul Godzik, who represents the Meadows and Morningside, said: “John was a well-kent and much-loved member of our community and I think it is fantastic that he being recognised in this way.”