Pub gift puts roof over Big Issue seller’s head

Martin Kirby, Andrew McGarry and David Cooper outside the Brave Old Oak
Martin Kirby, Andrew McGarry and David Cooper outside the Brave Old Oak

A homeless man can now look forward to the New Year after a pub landlord and punters put a roof over his head.

Big Issue seller Andrew McGarry, 48, has been sleeping rough for more than six months after his benefits were stopped in May.

But thanks to generous regulars at the Brave Old Oak he will see in the New Year from a rented bedsit in Towcester.

Landlord David Cooper paid for Mr McGarry’s £200 deposit and his punters held a Facebook whip-round to install items including a new cooker and curtains.

Mr McGarry said: “I feel like a big kid again, It’s like I used to feel when I was a 12-year-old at Christmas.

“I can only say a massive thank you to the people of Towcester – I just can’t get my head round it.”

Mr McGarry, originally from Kettering, moved to Great Yarmouth to work as a builder.

But when his state benefits were cut, after a ‘dispute’ with his Job Centre Plus officer, he moved to Northampton to sell the Big Issue on the corner of Fish Street.

Landlord David Cooper was so taken by Mr McGarry’s plight, he offered him a room upstairs at a discounted price and offered to do his laundry.

Mr Cooper said: “People started coming in and donating sheets, curtains, a toaster, a cooker, we got him a little microwave, it was amazing.”

Mr McGarry, who served in Northern Ireland in the 1980s with the Royal Fusiliers, will carry on selling the Big Issue to keep up rent payments.