Cricklewood opera singer hosts garden party in support of library campaign

Fundraising event boosts crusade’s coffers by �700

A retired opera singer welcomed members of the public to her garden party which raised money to help save six libraries in Brent.

Helen Marcus, 69, of Anson Road, Cricklewood, was delighted to offer her support to the campaign.

On Sunday (3), around 100 people enjoyed tea and cake throughout the afternoon which raised �700 for the cause.

Among her guests was British food critic, writer and television presenter Giles Coren.

Despite protests from residents,Brent Council will Preston, Barham Park, Tokyngton, Neasden, Cricklewood and Kensal Rise libraries this summer to save �1miliion.

The money raised by Mrs Marcus will be used towards funds needed to take the case to the High Court for a judicial review.

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She said: “I believe libraries are a civilised part of our society.

“It is appalling that anybody should think of closing them.”

Criticising town hall plans to build a �100m civic centre in Wembley, Mrs Marcus added: “The council should not be wasting money on a new town hall in Wembley when it is cutting a vital service which will affect all parts of the borough.”

Councillor James Powney, Labour, lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, refuted Ms Marcus’ claims, he said: “The new Civic Centre should achieve a saving of �4 million a year. It is a self-financing project with important regeneration benefits for the whole borough.

“While the court case is on-going we have been advised not to make any comment which might affect the case.”

An umbrella group, called Brent SOS Libraries, has been set up to represent the reading rooms earmarked to close this year.

The dedicated campaigners have raised nearly �12,000 of its �30,000 target.

Author Philip Pullman will join Willesden novelist Maggie Gee at a fundraising event on July 20, at Queens Park Community School hall, in Aylestone Avenue, Queens Park.

Doors open at 6.30pm and tickets cost �10.

All proceeds and donations will go to the Brent SOS Library Fund.

For more information about the campaign and how to donate visit