‘His personal struggle is now at an end’ – Friends’ tributes to former Norwich Big Issue seller John Brough

Tributes have been paid to former Norwich Big Issue seller, John Brough, who has died aged 55.

John was a businessman and Oxford graduate before alcohol dependency left him homeless and alone on the streets.

Thanks to help from numerous friends, his partner Trudy Johnson, and with the help and support he received from Norcas in Norwich - the open access drug and alcohol charity - and the Big Issue he was able for a time to stop drinking and take control of his life.

But his years of alcoholism had affected his health and he died of a heart attack at his home in Barnards Yard, Norwich, on August 7.

His partner Trudy Johnson said: 'He was fun, humorous, and very generous when he had money. He was kind and loving and very intelligent. He was also very ambitious and never stopped looking for work. He had a wide range of friends.'

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Journalist Ian Wylie, who knew John for over 40 years and delivered the eulogy at his funeral, said: 'John had a brilliant brain, an engaging smile and, best of all, a very well developed sense of humour.

'He sailed into a place at St Peter's College, Oxford with four A-levels and read Modern History, later working in Edinburgh, Cheshire and London.

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'He claims his eventual decision to move to Norwich was the result of putting a dart in a map.

'We were all privileged to have met John and desperately hoped that he could somehow beat the cycle of addiction that would take him out of our lives and on to the streets – both during his life in Norwich and many times before.

'Five years ago John wrote a small piece for a Norwich church magazine about what he described as his 'personal struggle'.

'John said, 'The path has neither been straight nor narrow. But as well as much sadness there has been great joy along the way'.

'As a lifelong horseracing fan, John knew what it was to win – as well as to lose.

'And although we would all dearly love him still to be with us today, I hope there is some comfort for his many friends in the fact that, for John, his personal struggle is now at an end.'

Another friend Jon Southgate said: 'He was a much-loved Big Issue vendor, and well-known on his pitch in London Street, near the Co-op bank, where he sold for more than a decade.

'Originally from Newcastle, he was famously friendly, wise and witty - a true gent.'

His funeral was held yesterday at Princes Street United Reformed Church in Norwich followed by cremation at Earlham Crematorium. Donations at the funeral were requested for Norcas and/or the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

You can leave your tribute to Mr Brough by commenting at the bottom of this page.

See tomorrow's Evening News for more tributes to Mr Brough.

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