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Queen's Park councillor's marathon task to raise £1,000 towards library's campaign

PUBLISHED: 12:01 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:01 13 February 2019

Margaret Bailey, Stephanie Schonfield and Cllr. James Denselow are fundraising for a children's corner at Kensal Rise Library. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Margaret Bailey, Stephanie Schonfield and Cllr. James Denselow are fundraising for a children's corner at Kensal Rise Library. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

After successfully running for a council seat three times (and counting), Queen’s Park marathon man Cllr James Denselow is running for the library.

Cllr. James Denselow is running the London Marathon to raise funds for a children's corner in Kensal Rise Library . Picture: Jonathan GoldbergCllr. James Denselow is running the London Marathon to raise funds for a children's corner in Kensal Rise Library . Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Cllr Denselow hopes to raise £1,000 towards the Friends of Kensal Rise Library’s (FOKRL) target of £11,000 to pay for a special children’s corner – by running the London Marathon on April 28.

He’s also aiming to read 26 books by the end of the year to further reinforce his commitment to the library in Bathurst Road.

When the Times visited on Friday it was no longer a shell, but was still empty of books and equipment.

FOKRL fought hard to keep a space for the community when the council closed the building in 2011.

Middle East analyst Cllr Denselow said: “As the father of a young child who loves reading, it would be great if he could come here. It’s important for parents to have a place like this to come to.”

He added: “I was involved in the decision to shut the library. We thought there would be upset that would last a few weeks.

“It’s a testament to this community here – their passion, their skills, their expertise – that not only did they keep it, they battled for it beyond anything we thought of back in the day.

“After everything the library campaigners have gone through in the last few years, it’s brilliant to be able to help them. Theirs really has been a marathon campaign; I’ll just be running for a few hours.”

FOCKL’s Stephanie Schonfield said: “It’s been a struggle. We’ve lost lots of battles but we won the war. We’ve raised over £200,000 to get the library to how it is now. We’re hoping to raise £11,000 for the children’s library.”

Kensal Rise was the only library to be opened by author Mark Twain in 1900.

It was paid for by public subscription, a type of early crowdfunding. “It’s the community that has always cared about this library,” Stephanie added.

Chair of FOKRL Margaret Bailey, who runs Kensal Green’s under-fives group in Mortimer Road, hoped to bring her young charges along on Friday to see the space before it’s transformed – but the weather was too blustery. She said: “I really look forward to taking our children to the library again which we used to be able to do.”

Support Cllr Denselow and Kensal Rise Library at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jamesdenselow.

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