Tributes paid to ‘one in a million’ Stockbridge Big Issue vendor
Tributes have been paid to a much-loved Big Issue vendor who was at the heart of the Stockbridge community.
Stevie was renowned for selling the magazine outside Costa Coffee on Raeburn Place for the past 18 months and became a popular figure among residents.
The 49-year-old was found dead in his B&B last Friday which has led to an outpouring of emotion from the local community, with flowers and cards left in tribute on his pitch.
Susan Bittker penned a heartfelt letter on behalf of Stevie’s customers.
She wrote: “The sudden death of Steven (also known as Stevie or Stef to his friends) has left Stockbridge (Edinburgh) residents shocked and bereft.
“Steven was very much a part of the Stockbridge community: he worked really hard at the job he loved – selling The Big Issue – and made a big impression because of his positive outlook, his smiling face, and the fact that he always loved to chat with his customers.
“Sometimes you’d have bought your Big Issue from him, said goodbye, and moved on, and he’d still be calling after you to ‘have a good day’ and ‘god bless.’
“As one of his friends said ‘he was one in a million.’ I hope he knew how much the people of Stockbridge cared about him and are grieving for him.”
Stevie was using his Big Issue sales to save up for a new moped and had almost reached his target before his tragic death.
Rhys Corley-Morgan, The Big Issue’s sales and operations manager for Scotland, told the Evening News that the outpour in tributes to Stevie has been “really special”.
He added: “Stevie was genuinely a really loving, soft-hearted guy who was always smiling. He was always really funny and was well liked by colleagues and customers alike.
“We have had people coming into the office and calling us up to tell us how highly they regarded Stevie.
“It’s comforting to know that Stevie was so well thought of and we’re so pleased to see the tribute on the streets of Stockbridge to appreciate his positive contribution to the community. The outpour from residents has been really special.
“He came to us after spending time in prison and was proof of how the Big Issue can have an impact on the lives of people.
“He was able to earn a living that gave him motivation and he didn’t re-offend during his time with us.
“Stevie was selling the magazine consistently and was doing well trying to save up for a new moped so he could be a mod again.
“He had accumulated many relationships in Stockbridge including charity shops that would allow him to leave his magazines there so he didn’t have to carry them to and from home.
“Many people would just stop for a chat with him and some have told us he would brighten up their day.
“We’re all very upset to hear the news of his death and he will be sorely missed by everyone at The Big Issue in Edinburgh.”