E L James helps raise funds for flood-hit cricket club

E L James helps raise funds for flood-hit cricket club

Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James is helping to raise funds for a flood-hit cricket club, that has "literally disappeared under the same deluge" as flooded bookshop Book Case, in Hebden Bridge.

The author behind the erotic fiction chart topper donated two special signed sets of her trilogy for auction on eBay, with the proceeds going towards two appeals - one to save the flooded bookshop in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and a second to save a cricket club in Sowerby Bridge.

The fundraising initiatives were launched by Bob and Carol Bridgestock, two former police officers and local authors who jointly write under the name RC Bridgestock. After the pair launched the Book Case appeal last week to assist Hebden Bridge bookshop owned by Kate Claughan, the Bridgestocks are now hoping to raise £30,000 to save their "sodden" local cricket club, the clubhouse for which has been reduced to "a shell" after water levels reached unprecedented levels.

Carol Bridgestock told The Bookseller. "It's like a quagmire. The whole cricket club has been submerged, right up to the kitchen units. Everything I’ve seen in my career, it’s never affected me as much much as this has. We cannot let it go.

"We come from West Yorkshire, and I was hearing from family up there that it was raining non-stop. My brother was practically in tears - he's the chairman of the cricket club, which has been part of the family for three generations - and he said 'We’re going under'. I thought 'I'm 200 miles away, how could I help? Raising funds, that would help.'

"We got a massive response. It was such a surprise. Yesterday (4th January) when when E L James got in touch with me I was literally shaking! I have never shook like that. I can’t believe people are so kind. [Working in the police] both my husband and I saw the bad side...Getting the authors and publishers' support like this, it’s been awesome."

Sporting personalities who have been getting involved to help save the club include Welsh cricketer Simon Jones, who played internationally for England and donated a signed edition of his book The Test (Yellow Jersey); Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens, who donated a signed copy of Half Time: My Autobiography (Y Lolfa);  and writer Ed Ceasar, who donated Two Hours (Viking), about the world's greatest distance runners.

Former captain of Warwickshire Cricket Club, Jim Troughton, also donated The Legend of Lord Morvidus (Brewin Books), about a young cricketer conquering his fears to play in his first match; while Gary James, a football historian, handed over his last personal copy of Manchester: The City Years (James Ward) which attracted a £100 bid from former Manchester City footballer and striker Francis 'Franny' Lee within minutes.

Other signed books on offer come from many more writers like Sebastian Faulks, Jonathan Wilson, Tom Holland and Authors Cricket Club captain and London literary agent Charlie Campbell, who signed The Authors X1 (John Wisden & Co). The Bridgestocks are still keen to hear from more authors who might want to get involved.

The initiative follows that of the Book Case appeal that saw aid pour in from across the trade to help. Donations came from publishers Phaidon and Galley Beggar and signed copies of books from authors Marian Keyes, Matt Haig and Ian Rankin, with fundraising auctions organised by HarperCollins' Sam Missingham to raise £3,300 and counting. Bridgestock added: "It looks like Book Case is going to be all right, because we were able to restock through donations. All we need to do now is dry it out." 

Kevin Duffy at independent publisher Bluemoose Books, who has been co-ordinating efforts to restock the bookshop through donations using its own warehouse to store the books, told The Bookseller today: "The support from the trade has been phenomenal. Shakespeare & Co in Paris has offered its hand of friendship across The English Channel too. [It's been] brilliant."

Picture: Michael Lionstar