Big Issue seller marries woman who cried when he gave her change to pay for her electricity
'I wanted to give my beloved the wedding she deserved but I couldn't. Thanks to the kindness of people I've now been able to'
Published 21/03/2016 | 11:42
Jack Richardson reduced Toni Osborne to tears when he asked her for some spare spare change while begging on the street - before giving her 50p for the electricity meter.
But two years after their chance meeting in Bristol sparked romance, the couple have got married.
She broke down crying following Mr Richardson's request in 2003 because at that point she could not even afford electricity.
And he described how his gesture started the relationship that saw him propose to her two years later on the patch he now sells the Big Issue from.
He told the BBC: “I asked her for money, it was just before Christmas and she burst into tears. She didn't have quite enough to put the lights on over Christmas, so I gave her enough to put the lights on.
"After I got badged up [as a Big Issue seller], she had an appointment at the bottom of the hill, so I saw her every week."
She offered him a roof when the underground car park he was sleeping in was boarded up.
The couple say they were inundated with offers to help prepare for their big day.
"We've had money put by for a dress for Toni, [Big Issue] customers have offered to bake cakes for the wedding," he said.
The happy couple had planned a registry office ceremony until a vicar offered to do the service for free after meeting Mr Richardson in a soup kitchen.
They also received offers from wine merchants, photographers and hairdressers. A man even offered him an Armani suit to borrow for the wedding.
Mr Richardson said: "I wanted to give my beloved the wedding she deserved but I couldn't. Thanks to the kindness of people I've now been able to."
A Big Issue spokesperson told the BBC: "We're really happy for Jack and Toni. It's lovely to have a good news story from one of our vendors."
Independent News Service