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January 21, 2011

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Visitors for old cobbler

WELL-WISHERS yesterday brought gifts to an elderly cobbler who became an overnight Internet sensation after a photograph of him working on Shanghai's freezing streets was posted online.

Zhang Tianyuan, aged 80, said it was his happiest day in recent years, despite the heavy snow that forced him to stay at home and not take his usual spot on Guangyuan Road W. in Xuhui District.

He said he'd been surprised to receive visits from officials, locals and reporters since his brush with online fame.

"I will remember the names of all those who care about me and bless them before I go to sleep very night," said Zhang, from Jiangsu Province, who is a devout Buddhist.

Officials from the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce's Xuhui Branch presented him with 500 yuan (US$75.95).

Zhang said he welcomed visitors, but asked them not to bring any more presents as he had all he needed.


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