Family pays tribute to ‘kind-hearted’ stalwart of community

PUBLISHED: 08:14 05 March 2018

Keith was well-known in the community and sold the Big Issue outside Waitrose. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Keith was well-known in the community and sold the Big Issue outside Waitrose. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


A well-known community figure who sold the Big Issue outside Waitrose in Saffron Walden has died after a long battle with cancer.

Keith Northam, who lived in Cambridge, and sold the Big Issue for 24 years, lost his battle with cancer on February 19 at the age of 50.

He sold the Big Issue outside Waitrose in Saffron Walden five days a week, before becoming too unwell to work after Christmas.

Keith, who was homeless for 12 years before getting permanent residency in Cambridge, was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago, which was then followed by throat and lung cancer.

His daughter, Jasmine Northam, said he was a ‘free spirit’ and enjoyed the freedom of being able to move around to ‘wherever the party was’.

Jasmine said: “My sister and I didn’t realise how many lives he had been involved in.

“He was such a brilliant guy, a fabulous friend, and the most incredible dad.

“He would do anything for anybody, he was so kind hearted. He was mine and my sister’s hero.”

Jasmine, 23, is raising money for Cancer Research UK in memory of her father by taking part in a white collar boxing match in Worcester on March 31.

Jasmine also lost her granddad to lung cancer in 2008 and hopes to raise £200 for the charity.

Jim Brewin, branch manager of Waitrose in Saffron Walden, said: “Many of our customers and partners signed his 50th birthday card last year.

“We will be setting up a condolence book up at our welcome desk. Customers will be invited to make an entry in the book.

“I plan to pass the book on so his daughters Jasmine and Ayisha can understand how much we all thought of him.”

Jasmine said the funeral will be taking place in the next few weeks and anyone who knew Keith and would like to attend should e-mail her on

To donate to Jasmine’s fundraising campaign, visit


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