Big Issue founder to speak at Battle mayor’s charity dinner

University of Northampton. Avenue Campus, St George's Avenue. Founder of the Big Issue John Bird speaks to students about social enterprise. ENGNNL00120130122153919
University of Northampton. Avenue Campus, St George's Avenue. Founder of the Big Issue John Bird speaks to students about social enterprise. ENGNNL00120130122153919

Big Issue founder John Bird will be the guest speaker at the Battle Mayor’s Charity 1066 Anniversary Dinner.

John Bird’s early life was one of hardship. He was born in Notting Hill to a poor London Irish family, became homeless at the age of five, lived in an orphanage between the ages of seven and 10, and was excluded from school. He slept rough and spent several spells in prison during his teens and twenties where he learnt reading, writing and the basics of printing.

In 1991, together with Gordon Roddick, co-founder of The Body Shop, Bird launched The Big Issue magazine, which is written by journalists and sold by homeless people to earn money rather than having to depend on begging or handouts. He went on to set up the Big Issue Foundation and Big Issue Invest, a company that finances social enterprise and charities.

Now Baron Bird of Notting Hill, John Bird recently made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, speaking about his decades of fighting to beat poverty.

Former Battle mayor Margaret Kiloh, who is organising the dinner, said: “Seeing the speech on YouTube convinced me that John was just the kind of speaker we were looking for.

“He is entertaining and knowledgeable and has a refreshingly different approach to things.”

The dinner will take place at Battle Abbey School on September 2. Tickets cost £60 per person and are available from Battle Town Council. Proceeds will go to Home Start East Sussex and Tyume Valley Schools.

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