Oxfam bookshop raises £5m in 25 years

The Oxford Times: Volunteer staff from left to right, are Maura DiSalvo, Clare Balme, James Carruthers, Catherine Hilliard and Nora Novak with a selection of books Buy this photo Volunteer staff from left to right, are Maura DiSalvo, Clare Balme, James Carruthers, Catherine Hilliard and Nora Novak with a selection of books

A CHARITY bookshop in St Giles celebrates 25 years on Saturday having raised a staggering £5m for the developing world.

The Oxfam store was the first of the Cowley-based charity’s specialist bookshops, and there are now 141 across the UK, run by more than 4,000 volunteers.

There are currently 63 volunteers at the shop in St Giles, which marks its anniversary on Saturday.

But even the scruffiest looking volume could be worth hundreds of pounds – or even thousands.

Manager James Carruthers, 37, who previously managed the Oxfam bookstore in Winchester, said: “It’s quite phenomenal that the shop has raised £5m over the past quarter of a century.

“This incredible achievement would not have been possible without the continued support from the local community and all the shop’s customers.

“Last year, we raised our highest amount ever, £303,000, but we can only achieve that because the donations keep coming in.

“Even just a few paperbacks can make a difference and sometimes, if someone has a book they know is valuable, they will bring it to us because they know we carefully price first editions and use all the tools available to check a book’s value.

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“That gives donors the confidence to give us their books.”

Mr Carruthers added that some volunteers have worked for the shop since it opened.

“Vera Jefferson has been with us for 25 years and she was one of the people who came up with the original idea,” he said.

“At the party Lord Mayor Alan Armitage joined volunteers to cut a cake, presented them with certificates, and expressed his fondness for the store, before coming away with some Beethoven sheet music.”

Mr Armitage said: “It was lovely to see Mrs Jefferson and some of the other long-serving volunteers. It’s great that they are still around to see the shop delivering this seam of gold for people suffering around the world.”

Mr Carruthers added that on Friday, December 7, at the Quaker Meeting House in St Giles, local authors Philip Pullman and Mark Haddon would take part in a literary evening organised by the shop and sign copies of their books and discuss their writing.

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