A popular Big Issue vendor will enjoy a trip to Blackpool this April thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Colin lived in the seaside town while working at Winter Gardens more than 20 years ago.
He now sells the magazine on Oxford Road and First Street and enjoys chatting with his regular customers, including Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham.
Colin said: “I was made up when I found out and want to thank everyone who donated.
“I’ve lived in Longsight for more than 15 years now but Blackpool holds some very special memories for me.”
It was the generosity of the public and a fundraising effort by Big Issue reader Glenn Meads that will make the upcoming excursion possible.
The theatre writer set up a JustGiving page with the hopes of raising £200 to cover the cost of a weekend break.
Meads said: “I realised how many people in Manchester know and respect Colin.
“I thought we might raise £100 if I was lucky but Manchester is an amazing city and people have dug deep.”
Glenn, who regularly buys the magazine from Colin, noticed that the vendor seemed particularly down during the pandemic.
Sales had reduced due to commuters working from home and the train strikes meant less people were seeing him on Oxford Road.
Selling the magazine was his only source of income and meant that Colin was unable to afford his annual overnight stay in Blackpool.
This is the third year that fundraising efforts for the trip have been successful.
Speaking to Big Issue North about his previous holiday, Colin said: ”It was great to have a break and just walk along the beach and get some fresh sea air.
“I went to an Indian restaurant for a meal and in the evening I went out to a karaoke bar where I’ve been before. They all know me in there.”
Glenn is also a member of local charity 500 Acts of Kindness who kickstarted this year’s JustGiving pot with a £100 donation.
The group was set up in 2018 by friends Chris Malvern and actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and now has more than 3,300 members on Facebook.
Chris said: “Colin is such a lovely man as anyone who visits HOME theatre in Manchester will tell you.
“We were delighted to support Glenn’s nomination to kickstart his holiday fundraiser.
“We’re so lucky to have wonderful supporters – 500 Acts of Kindness wouldn’t be possible without them.”
The fund currently stands at £350 and Glenn has pledged to donate surplus money back to 500 Acts of Kindness.
He said: “I am so grateful to everyone in this beautiful city who has shared this story or donated.
“Often we hear that people don’t care anymore about others – this proves that good news stories do exist and that people can club together and help others.”
You can find out more on Glenn’s JustGiving page.
Featured image: Colin by Mancunian Matters