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Reader letter: Memories of Marcus who sold the Big Issue outside the Royal Arcade

PUBLISHED: 15:29 07 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:29 07 March 2020

The Royal Arcade in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Royal Arcade in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Do you remember Marcus, Norwich’s lone Big Issue seller from years ago?

Back in 1996-7 there used to be just one Big Issue seller in Norwich named Marcus, who pitched outside the Royal Arcade with his wonderful dog. A small German Shepherd, I cannot remember the beast's name.

Both man and dog were incredibly popular. Such a variety of people provided coffee, food, dog food and importantly the element Marcus valued the most: conversation. Getting to know parts of his personal history, mental health issues which he freely spoke about when he got to trust you and all, was a privilege.

I sometimes asked him if there was anything I could do to help and his reply was almost always: "I'd really appreciate some clean carpet or lino for the squat".

One day a couple of mates and I obliged. Everyone involved was doubtless in the wrong but there you go.

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He, really, didn't do drugs or alcohol but had a weakness for roll-ups which he'd often cadge from anyone who'd offer him some tobacco, myself and other folks included.

I was working in France just before Christmas 1997 and brought back some (legal) pouches of Golden Virginia, one of which I went to give to Marcus as a Christmas gift.

He wasn't there. I bumped into a Jarrold retiree who had shared conversations with Marcus and myself.

She told me that the Big Issue had moved 10, yes 10, sellers into the general area almost overnight and it had broken Marcus's heart.

I never saw him again and I doubt she did either.

MARTIN PENNEY,

Nelson Way, Mundesley.

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