ST HELENS new independent book shop has confirmed its opening date.

Bosses at the St Helens Book Stop say the 11 Bridge Street store – which has been set up following a community fundraising effort – will finally throw open its doors on Friday, November 26.

A crowdfunding appeal last year to amass investment for the store secured backing of £45,000.

The new shop's interior is yet to be completed, however, trustees have agreed it should still open ahead of Christmas.

Issues with the building, which formerly housed the Furniture Boutique, in the Church Square Shopping Centre have led to frustrating delays in the shop's physical launch this year.

The Book Stop campaign has secured plenty of support

The Book Stop campaign has secured plenty of support

In a statement sent to shareholders the St Helens Book Stop said: "The long wait is almost over!

"Although our bookshop is some way from the finished product we have decided nonetheless that it is time to open our doors to the community which has shown so much support for us over the past year.

"The shop will open to the public on Friday, November 26 and we look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible over the next few weeks. We may well have some teething problems during this time but if so please bear with us as we reach this most exciting point of our long journey and move on to the next stage.

"Our official launch event will take place during early 2022 so please watch out for news of this nearer the time."

The idea for a community book shop was sparked in 2019 by the closure of Westfield Street store Wardleworth's.

It is intended that the book shop will be owned and run by the community and exist for the benefit of the town.

The Book Stop, meanwhile, has re-opened its membership scheme and people interested in shareholders can email

The Community Shares Booster Programme has match funded the share issue and the Steve Morgan Foundation is providing the funds to pay the salary of the bookshop manager for the first three years.

There are more than 300 members overall, with dozens of St Helens residents having given their support and there is also high profile backing from people who were born in the borough but no longer live here.

Laura Goodchild is store manager

Laura Goodchild is store manager

They include St Helens-born Sir Michael Smurfit, one of Europe's most successful businessmen.

Others from outside the town but who grew up there and have subscribed for shares include Brendan O'Neill (ex-CEO ICI and Guinness Brewing Worldwide) choreographer Paul Harris, and Milton Grundy, the founder of Gray's Inn Tax Chambers who still goes to work at the age of 94.

Journalists Ray Connolly and David Lawrenson, author and journalist Charles Nevin and Andrew Lees, the neurologist and author, are other backers.

Closer to home, others to have invested include Saints skipper James Roby, the rugby league club's chairman Eamonn McManus, the Steve Prescott Foundation's Linzi Prescott, women's rugby league player Jodie Cunningham, ex-Premier League football referee Chris Foy, actor Phil Gwilliam and council leader David Baines.