Russell Crowe’s £5,000 donation wows Norwich bookshop

An independent bookshop trying to secure its survival said it had received a “bonkers” £5,000 donation from film star Russell Crowe.

Photo via bugsanddragontales.com

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales in Norwich wants to raise £15,000 to give the business “breathing space” and to do more outreach work with children.

Within hours of the online appeal launch, a donation appeared in the name of Gladiator star Crowe.

“Each donation has been so incredibly affirming,” said owner Leanne Fridd.

She set up the appeal on Thursday and said she and husband Dan were “squealing” when they spotted the donation – made under the name Russell Ira Crowe – that night.

“One of our daughters had to go to work early the next day, and she woke up to us chanting ‘Russell Crowe, Russell Crowe’,” she said.

“It’s going to have a huge impact.”

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The BBC has contacted Crowe’s representatives for a comment.

The bookshop, which opened in 2019, was in its infancy as a business when it was forced to close during Covid lockdowns.

It managed to stay afloat, but Mrs Fridd feared the cost of living crisis could become “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

The appeal, which she said she had been reluctant to make because of the financial struggle felt by many, aimed to cover bills and rent for six months.

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales bookshop in Norwich – Photo Leanne Fridd

It would also give the owners time to bid for grants and funding for their work to bring books to children who may not have easy access to Norwich city centre.

Mrs Fridd added: “The last few hours has been people saying to us ‘we get it, we know what you are trying to do’.

“We’ve had £100 from the customer who lost her house in a fire – I know she can’t afford that – we’ve had £5 from someone, because it’s what they can afford.

“The comments… I’ve been in tears all day.”

She said she believed the actor had heard of the shop and the appeal on social media via a friend of a friend.

“It’s definitely, definitely him, 100%, we know the connection is there, and we had seen the person [who knows him] had retweeted it,” added Mrs Fridd.

“I have heard that this is what he is like – he is really supportive and just wants to make a difference.

“It’s bonkers.

“Every donation makes us really hopeful for the future and the message is really clear – we are valued – and to have a celebrity has added that bit of sparkle.

“I doubt he will come into the shop, but who knows, if he is in the area in the future, he might.”

Full story https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-63177399

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