A POPULAR newspaper seller who hawked copies of the Adver in the 90s has died at the age of 87.

Tony Hambidge was well known for his warm morning greetings at The Parade in the town centre, where he flogged a variety of publications in all manner of conditions. On special occasions he even handed out flowers to customers to go with their paper.

His daughter Caroline Montier told the Adver: “He sold all the papers for years and years. He really enjoyed selling them and meeting customers, they used to come up to him and tell him about their days.

“He’d have a laugh with anybody and everybody. A real family man who would do anything to help. I think he probably died of a broken heart when Mum passed away two years ago.”

Tony carried on selling newspapers well into his seventies. His wife Gwen, who was a manager at the YMCA, would often relieve him of his duties while he went off to stretch his legs or get a bite to eat. Caroline recalled the time she helped him out for a month in 1997: “It was very strange shouting that first, ‘Aaadver!’ with him.”

“He was a great role model. He showed you can always do something even when you’re retired.”

Tony has featured in the Adver several times over the years. Back in 1996 he spoke to a reporter about a cashless payment system called Mondex. At the time it was touted as the end of cash payments, but a trial of the Mondex card in Swindon proved unsuccessful.

The Adver’s own Barrie Hudson wrote a feature on the Swindon man in 2001. He said in the piece: “Tony is one of those cheerful people – not the falsely cheerful who come across as being about as sincere as a politician’s smile. Rather, he is a genuinely cheerful person who would like nothing better than for his mood to be contagious.”

On that day 17 years ago Tony said: “I have people come up to me and say it’s nice to have people who are a little bit happy and smiling. For some, buying the newspaper is the highlight of their day.”

Despite taking the pulse of the town six days a week, often in the bitter cold, Tony was eventually unable to compete with the increasing number of supermarkets around town.

A funeral service for the dedicated newsie will be held at the Kingsdown Crematorium on June 26.