Sydenham bookshop targeted by burglars ahead of Christmas - community rallies in support

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Kirkdale Bookshop says community support "feels like the very final scene of It's a Wonderful Life" after Christmas burglary.

A London bookshop has received "overwhelming" support after it was burgled ahead of Christmas.

Kirkdale Bookshop, in Sydenham, south-east London, was broken into on Sunday (December 17). It has since raised more than £1,300 on its Gofundme page towards covering the burglary costs, with a current target of £3,000.

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The community shop has been going since 1966 and stocks "new and secondhand books for all ages".

Burglars attempted to break in the shop three times, eventually breaking the glass door. They targeted the till on what had been Kirkdale’s busiest shopping day of the year so far.

Kirkdale Bookshop’s post on X advertising the fundraiser has more than 90,000 views.

Freddie, who works at the shop, told LondonWorld the community's support is a reminder of people’s generosity so close to Christmas.

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He said: “The support from the community, as well as further afield, from followers on social media, has been absolutely amazing. After posting the images on our social media, we've received an outpouring of sympathy from well wishers as well as people sending business our way.

“We hadn't initially thought about setting up a Gofundme, or something similar - but a number of people were in touch with us asking if they could donate something toward the costs that we might incur, either because they weren't able to buy something from us directly or because it was the easiest way of helping out.

“The response from everyone has been really wonderfully overwhelming - we've even had brownies and wine sent over! It's been deeply heartwarming and actually quite moving, especially in this final week before Christmas. It feels like the very final scene of It's a Wonderful Life when you're reminded of the inherent goodness of people after a difficult time. We just cannot thank people enough for their generosity and the support they've shown.”

Freddie said it reflects the desire for local bookshops in a time of pressure on local businesses.

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“I think, generally speaking, people are really keen to support bookshops and the book trade/indie businesses. We noticed that especially during the height of the pandemic, customers really came out in their droves to order/buy from us," he said. "So I think there will definitely always be support for them - as long as people keep reading.”

Kirkdale Bookshop is at 272 Kirkdale, London, SE26 4RS and online.