Hollywood star Russell Crowe donates £5,000 to save Norwich bookshop

First picture credit to PA second to ITV Anglia
A donation under the name 'Russell Ira Crowe' was made to the bookshops crowdfunding page. Credit: PA / ITV Anglia

A couple who own an independent bookshop had a surprise when they discovered Hollywood actor Russell Crowe had donated £5,000 to keep the shop going. 

Despite residing thousands of miles away in Australia, a donation under the name ‘Russell Ira Crowe’ popped up on a crowdfunding page supporting the struggling Norwich-based shop.

Leanne and Dan Fridd created a crowdfunder aiming to raise £15,000 to "secure the shop's future". 

“It was about 11pm at night - we were lying in bed and we suddenly saw the figure jump from £3,000 to £8,000,” said Mr Fridd said.

“We looked at each other and thought 'Is this real? This is an expensive practical joke if it isn’t real.'

"We just screamed. We woke our 17-year-old daughter up who complained she was trying to sleep."

When asked how they could be sure it was the Gladiator star, former teacher Mrs Fridd said: “We did a bit of detective work and we know we have a mutual friend in common. And that person put our crowdfunding page on Twitter.”

The couple set up the children orientated Bookbugs and Dragontales in 2019 to realise their lifelong dream.

"We had a wonderful first seven months. We were exactly where we wanted to be, we’d built up 3,000 loyalty card customers. But then Covid hit and we shut our doors. That was a moment of panic," said Mr Fridd.

They tried to stem the problems, delivering books locally and creating a website, but not everything could be solved quickly. 

"I personally didn’t think we’d make it to Christmas, we needed to swallow our pride and asked for help," he added.

The crowdfunder will help the business create new ideas to diversify their business. 

"I feel completely overwhelmed and incredibly humbled. We can’t believe the incredible response we’ve received from people," said Mrs Fridd.

"We’ve cheered up, we’re excited and now optimistic for the future."

Hollywood star Crowe has not confirmed the donation, but in the past the actor has been known to donate thousands to good causes.

In 2020 he helped an aspiring actor from Harrogate, and in 2017 he commented on a video produced for the City of Norwich.

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