December 5 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 24, 2013
A community-run library received its biggest-ever book donation this week – thanks to daytime TV stars Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.
The couple turned up at Keats Community Library in Hampstead with a van-load of titles drawn from their personal collection on Tuesday.
Mr Madeley, 57, said he was “absolutely knackered” after gathering the tomes at their house in Hampstead Garden Suburb.
“I spent about four hours single-handedly moving all these things out to the garage to be brought down today,” he said. “Most of them were upstairs – I went up and down the stairs enough times to climb Mount Snowdon.”
The duo handed over 1,000 mostly unused titles, becoming the latest celebrities to support the volunteer-run library in Keats Grove, which was saved by the community when Camden Council pulled the plug 18 months ago.
Monty Python star Michael Palin and renowned actor Simon Callow have both given their backing and hosted fundraisers.
Mr Madeley paid tribute to the 50 volunteers who have kept the place going – praising them for “saying ‘no’ to a stupid decision”.
“If it wasn’t for them, the area would have lost a really good library,” he said. “In an ideal world they shouldn’t have to do it.”
The couple have been longtime reading champions through the Richard & Judy Book Club hosted on their Channel 4 chat show, which ended in 2009.
Ms Finnigan, 65, said the books are still flying in – and she promised to return with another load in two or three years time.
She said: “It’s just a fantastic community effort and we’re really so pleased to lend a hand. It’s fantastic for us as it clears our house and we know they are going to a good place. When we’ve got too many books again, it’s an absolute promise we’ll get them down here.” Richard and Judy were asked to donate the books for the Take A Moment campaign run by ITV’s This Morning – another of their former shows – which urges people to perform small acts of kindness.
Chairman of the library trustees, Steven Bobasch, 63, a risk consultant of Keats Grove, said he was “delighted”. “This is the biggest single donation we have received and they’re all pretty much unused,” he said.
Some of the books will be included in a fundraising sale at the library from 10am on Saturday.