Crouch End customers crowdfund thousands for bookshop after theft

Big Green Bookshop is raising money for Haringey schools. Joint owner Tim West pictured. Photo: Ni

Big Green Bookshop is raising money for Haringey schools. Joint owner Tim West pictured. Photo: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Two book owners was sickened when an opportunistic thief stole £600, but their customers were “unbelievably” supportive and in a “tsunami of loveliness” helped them raise more than nine times the amount in donations.

And the owners have announced the bookstore will donate part of the funds raised to buy books for five Haringey schools and nurseries.

Tim West, 53, from Hornsey co-owns the Big Green Bookshop with 47-year-old Simon Key who commutes to Wood Green from Hertfordshire.

They are asking customers which schools they think deserve 10 per cent of the donations to stock up on books for their libraries.

The money raised will also go towards Big Green Education, their not-for-profit company linked to the bookshop, which aims to promote a love of reading.

They hope to put more patrons of reading in place in Haringey schools.

Over the years they have already brought in several patrons, including children’s author Jonny Zucker at Rhodes Avenue and Sam Enthoven at Alexandra Park.

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Mr West was browsing books when the money was snatched from the till a few weeks ago but his customers responded with incredible generosity.

An online crowd funder was set up and avid book readers donated a running total of £5,500 to put the Big Green Bookshop back on its feet.

Crouch End customers dropped in with messages of support and to buy books.

The original target to make up the £600 was passed in a few hours.

Mr West and Mr Key received an anonymous £500 donation with the message “with love for an independent bookshop”.

Mr West said: “It’s in many ways unbelievable - the generosity of people has been fantastic.

And Mr Key added: “It’s turned something that was quite awful for us into something quite spectacular and positive.”

“It’s more than just the money - it’s what people have been saying about how much they’ve loved the shop.

“It’s everybody who has said a nice thing - who’s said, we’ve heard about it and we’ve come to buy a book.”

“It’s been a tsunami of loveliness.”

Mr West and Mr Key are open to ideas as to which Haringey schools are most in need of new books.

“We haven’t worked out the criteria yet - it shouldn’t just be our decision - we’ll ask our customers,” Mr West said.