LIFESTYLE

Former Big Issue Seller Marries Woman He Selflessly Helped In Time Of Need

One simple gesture led to a beautiful love story.

21/03/2016 10:28 GMT

A formerly homeless man has married a woman who he gave money to while he was sleeping rough.

Jack Richardson and Toni Osborne tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at St Paul's Church in Clifton on Saturday 19 March.

Richardson first met Osborne when he was selling the Big Issue in Bristol back in December 2013.

Osborne was passing by and Richardson asked if she'd like to buy a copy. But, much to his dismay, Osborne broke down in tears explaining that she couldn't even afford to pay her electricity meter that month.

Richardson then kindly offered Osborne some of his earnings so that she would be able to afford electricity over the Christmas period. 

From that moment on, the pair would regularly speak and, months later when Richardson needed a roof over his head, Osborne returned the favour.

Richardson recalled how the underground car park where he used to sleep had been boarded up and he didn't know where else to go. 

"I was in dire straits, facing sleeping outside again," he told the Big Issue. "But Toni – this amazing woman who I had been speaking to – offered to put me up for a couple of months.

"So I moved into her place and my life changed completely. We started getting close, and slowly but surely we fell head over heels in love with one another."

The pair made headlines in November 2015 when Richardson popped the question.

Despite the couple not having much money, people who regularly purchased the Big Issue from him pitched in to pay for the wedding, while others gave their services free of charge. 

One "amazing" person donated money for Osborne to buy a wedding dress. Another acquaintance lent Richardson an Armani suit to get married in.

The pair had a church wedding with 100 guests in attendance.

Richardson, who still sells the Big Issue but is also doing an Open University course in social sciences, said of their special day: "It was a beautiful service and we're so grateful for all the support everyone's given us. We couldn't be happier."

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