Three reading charities have received £3,000 each from the Chiswick Book Festival, following the event’s record ticket sales last autumn. Fundraisers from RNIB Talking Books, InterAct Stroke Support and Doorstep Library were presented with cheques on Thursday by the Festival director Torin Douglas.
The presentation took place at St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs the Festival, to mark the start of its 140th year.
On January 31st 1879 a drawing of the church, designed by the great Victorian architect Richard Norman Shaw, was published in The Building News. The paper’s editor was Maurice Adams, another Bedford Park architect and one of the first churchwardens at St Michael’s. The picture was donated to the church by journalist and former Bedford Park resident Michael White.
“St Michael’s has been at the heart of the community for 140 years, not least through events such as the Chiswick Book Festival” said Torin Douglas. “These cheques represent just part of the money the church raises each year for charities, supported by local residents and local businesses.”
Krista Dixon, Area Fundraising Manager London, for RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), said: “This donation of £3,000 is fantastic news at the start of the year. Like the previous gifts from the Chiswick Book Festival, it will go towards the recording of one of our Talking Books, which give free access to over 25,000 fiction and non fiction books for adults and children.”
Nirjay Mahindru, chief executive of InterAct Stroke Support, which employs actors to read to stroke patients in Charing Cross Hospital, said: “The donation is effectively 100 two-hour sessions of our work paid for at Charing Cross. We cannot thank the wonderful book festival enough.”
Judah Urch-Grear, Fundraising Officer for Doorstep Library, which brings the magic of reading into the homes of families in disadvantaged areas of London, said: “It is wonderful news. The book festival is clearly going from strength to strength and we are delighted to be a part of it.”
To mark its anniversary, St Michael & All Angels will be seeking more volunteers and donations for its arts, charity and community activities throughout the year, under the slogan “140 years serving Christ in the community”. For more than 50 years, it has organised the Bedford Park Festival and Green Days weekend and it will be celebrating the 140th anniversary at this year’s Festival, which runs from June 7th to June 23rd 2019.