A CAMPAIGN to save a bookshop from imminent closure has raised £32,000.

Wesley Owen Books, in South Woodford High Road, which sells Christian literature, was told it was faced with closure after charity International Bible Society Send the Light (IBS STL) went into administration.

But church members around South Woodford refused to give up that easily and began a campaign to raise the £65,000 needed to keep the shop open.

Manager Dominic Stinchcombe said: “We've been trying to get pledges from local churches, congregations and customers to see if we can reach the critical amount to get started up independently.

“That's gone very well but we've not got enough coming in quickly enough at the moment.”

Churchgoers began making pledges for cash donations shortly after the announcement, just before Christmas, and by the beginning of this year, funds were heading into tens of thousands of pounds.

A group was also set up on social networking site Facebook in a bid to save stores nationally, attracting nearly 500 members.

Sarah Clarke-Moisley, 49, who lives in Hainault and has worked at Wesley Owen in South Woodford for seven years, said: "It's more than just a bookshop, it's a place where people can catch up.

"This is the best job I've had in my life - it's an amazing place."

She added that the shop aimed to meet customers' spiritual needs, as well as their shopping needs.

Commenting on the Facebook site, daughter Moira Clarke-Moisley, 19, said: “We told one of the vicars on our church partnership scheme and he addressed his church the Sunday after and said that if 100 people pledged £1000 then we could stay in business.

“The Monday after, someone phoned us up to pledge their £1000, so from there we phoned round all the churches we could and told anybody and everybody we could.

“We now have pledges ranging from £2000 to £10.”

Rev Steve Clarke, of All Saints and St Andrew's in Woodford Wells, who helped launch the campaign, said he had been overwhelmed by people's generosity.

He said: "People have put their hands in their pockets and championed the vision.

"That's worth sharing."

The store, which has four paid staff as well as a team of volunteers, was told it will close as soon as it runs out of stock, with as little as 24 hours' notice.

But Mr Stinchcombe said the store would not remained closed long as charity Nationwide Christian Trust has also expressed an interest in taking over several of the Wesley Owen branches, including South Woodford.

He added: “We're determined to keep the Christian bookshop around and it's very heartening to see that level of support.”

To contribute to the campaign, call the store on 8530 4244 or Nationwide Christian Trust on 01277 365 398

Have you already contributed? Tell us why the store is important to you by emailing chack@london.newsquest.co.uk or calling 07768 507 739