Brothers save up busking money to buy puppy for Big Issue seller after tragedy

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(From left) Pacey, Buddy, Bex, puppy Rainbow, and Dan after the busking work (Image: BCHA / SWNS)
(From left) Pacey, Buddy, Bex, puppy Rainbow, and Dan after the busking work (Image: BCHA / SWNS)

Kind-hearted brothers saved up their busking money to buy a Big Issue seller a new puppy after her beloved pet was killed in a hit-and-run.

Daniel, Buddy and Pacey Shephard stepped in to help Bex Grass after her 'best friend' Poppy had to be put down in December last year after being hit by a car. The trio, from Sidmouth, Devon, first met Bex and Poppy when she visited the town’s Folk Festival in 2022. After hearing of Poppy's plight they secretly arranged for her to get a new puppy - that Bex has now named Rainbow.

Bex, who is originally from Sidmouth, now lives in a housing association house in nearby Exeter - where she sells The Big Issue after becoming homeless. She said: “When I first met the boys I was blown away by their music. You could tell they were amazing, super talented and very kind-hearted. But I never realised how much until my dog died.

Brothers save up busking money to buy puppy for Big Issue seller after tragedy eidexiqreiqtrinvRainbow has given Bex renewed hope and happiness (BCHA / SWNS)
Brothers save up busking money to buy puppy for Big Issue seller after tragedyThe Big Issue seller was heartbroken last year when her old dog Poppy had to be put down after she was hit by a car (BCHA / SWNS)

“Poppy was knocked over on December 29th last year. The car never even stopped and she was so badly injured, she had to be put down. I’ve never felt such grief. Poppy was my protector and had been with me when I was at my lowest point. Then she moved into Gabriel House with me where she continued to be my therapy dog when my anxiety was at its worst and she kept me sane – probably even alive. I went into a deep depression when I lost her."

Unbeknown to Bex, the boys heard what had happened and were so sad for her they decided they wanted to help. Their dad Ben Shephard added: “I got to know Bex’s partner Mark quite well during Folk Week. I saw him in Exeter again one day, selling the Big Issue and he told me what had happened. I told the boys and they said they wanted to spend the money they had saved on buying Bex a new puppy." The three young brothers had first started using their music talents to fundraise because Pacey needed a new piano.

Girl, 4, mauled to death in dog attack pictured as neighbours hear mum's screamsGirl, 4, mauled to death in dog attack pictured as neighbours hear mum's screams

Daniel and Buddy pooled money they were saving to upgrade their guitars, with money Pacey had saved to further his education and hopefully get his own piano compositions released, to buy Bex a new puppy. The boys and their dad looked online for a border collie similar to the one Bex had lost and found a litter for sale at a farm in Honiton, Devon.

Ben said: "I phoned the owner and explained the situation. When she heard what the boys were planning, she was touched, and wanted to help. When it came to going and getting the dog everyone was so excited - the thought of how much joy this was going to bring Bex. When we picked her out, we all wanted to keep her as she was so beautiful, a special dog for a special lady.”

The boys and their dad met with Mark secretly to get the puppy’s vaccinations and then went to the housing association's Gabriel House in Exeter for the ‘big reveal’. Bex said: “When I got a call to come down to reception and saw the boys holding the puppy I didn’t know what to think. Then, when I heard what they had done I just felt completely overwhelmed.

“I can’t thank these wonderful boys enough for bringing a new puppy into my life. I have called her Rainbow and she is absolutely perfect! She is allowed to live with me here at Gabriel House and together and with the help of BCHA we are building a new life. I am selling the Big Issue and hope we will move into our own place eventually. I am just so grateful.”

Pacey said: “The people called Bex downstairs, and when she saw the puppy I have never seen someone shake so much with happiness - it was amazing to see how much it meant to her.”

Ben added: "The boys really have a heart for people. Performing, they get to see first-hand and appreciate what homeless people go through.

"They know things don’t always come easy in life, and have experienced how it feels to have complete strangers care enough about their music to support them, and they want to pass that on. This isn’t the first time they’ve given back, and it won’t be the last."

Adam Aspinall

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