Free bookshop opens in Hatfield Galleria

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 March 2014

MP Grant Shapps, Shaylesh Patel from Healthy Planet book store with volunteers

MP Grant Shapps, Shaylesh Patel from Healthy Planet book store with volunteers

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A second charity shop which gives away books for free has opened in Hatfield and is doing “fantastically well”.

"It’s been really well supported in the last two weeks. There’s not much more you can ask of people."

Shaylesh Patel

Books For Free opened in the Galleria shopping centre and is the sister shop to Books For Free in Stonehills, WGC.

Both enterprises are run by Shaylesh Patel, who runs more stores across London, and dreamt up the concept in 2007.

“It is one of the fanciest shopping centres we have ever been in,” the 42-year-old told the Welwyn Hatfield Times about the new opening.

“The donations of books have been very generous.

“It’s been really well supported in the last two weeks.

“There’s not much more you can ask of people.”

The idea behind the charity is that people who have no use for books anymore donate them to the shop and shoppers can take them away for free.

Mr Patel said he came up with the idea after realising that each pulped book used the same amount of energy as using a gallon-and-a-half of petrol.

So far the venture has saved more than 3.5million books from being pulped.

Lesley Bowden, who works at the bookshop, said: “People do seem to like it, it is going down really well.

“People just love it.

“If you like books there is nothing not to like about this fantastic project.”

She added: “We are getting lots of people bringing books in, it is definitely growing.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps performed the official opening ceremony. Also there was WHT editor Terry Mitchinson.


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