Benís Big Day

12 February 2020

Benís Big Day

Ben and Bec at Bec's wedding

“I won’t be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me…” With those words, The Big Issue’s Ben G sang his friend Bec down the aisle on her big day.

It was friendship forged over magazine launch-day breakfasts in Brisbane, where Bec would often help out serving up bacon and eggs – and offer a friendly ear. Then, about five years ago, she heard Ben sing.

“I thought he was incredible,” says Bec, a long-time Big Issue volunteer. “I said, ‘Ben if I ever get married, I want you to sing me down the aisle.’ I wasn’t even engaged to my husband Jason at that time!”

A professional musician all his life, Ben had supported the likes of Van Morrison – until he woke up one morning and his arm was paralysed. “With absolutely no way of playing guitar, I lost my income, lost my home, I lost everything,” says Ben. “I ended up in a homeless hostel. It was a pretty tough time, but I never gave up hope.

“Through The Big Issue word got around about my condition – and I was able to get [my arm] fixed…not to the extent that it used to be, but enough to play the guitar and sing.”

So, when Jason “finally proposed” earlier this year, Bec booked in her wedding singer, flying him up to Hamilton Island for a three-night stay.

“It was actually an honour and a privilege to be remembered like that,” says Ben. “And then to be such a sort of integral part of their wedding day, it made me feel absolutely fantastic, like I belonged somewhere, you know.”

For Bec, knowing that Ben was there to serenade her into married life meant the world: “I was so nervous, about to walk down the aisle, with everyone looking at you…and to have Ben singing ‘Stand By Me’, and singing from the heart, it was wonderful.”

Article first published in The Big Issue edition #600