Edinburgh Christian Aid book sale in George Street not happening this year - but 'will be back in 2025'

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The annual Christian Aid book sale in Edinburgh's George Street is not taking place this year - but organisers say it's just a "one-year pause" and they hope it will be back in 2025. 

The sale - a well-established fixture in the Capital's calendar and a highlight of the year for many book lovers - would normally have started this Saturday and run all next week, to coincide with the annual UK-wide fund-raising Christian Aid Week.

The Christian Aid book sale started more than 50 years and has raised more than £3 million. Picture Toby Williams.The Christian Aid book sale started more than 50 years and has raised more than £3 million. Picture Toby Williams.
The Christian Aid book sale started more than 50 years and has raised more than £3 million. Picture Toby Williams. | TSPL

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But George Burgess, of the steering group behind the sale, said it was not possible to hold this year's event.  He said several of the long-standing volunteers had stepped down but it was hoped to recruit new helpers to ensure the annual sale could continue.

“This is not an end,” he said. "We've just not been able to get it set up this year because it's a pretty major logistical operation. The hope would be by 2025 to be back into the full swing of things. This is hopefully just a brief pause because there's a great deal of interest and affection for the event.”

St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, where the sale is held, has recently merged with Greenside Church and is now known as the New Town Church. Mr Burgess said the merger had brought in extra people and the kirk session of the united congregation had given its backing to the sales continuing.

The book sale began more than 50 years ago. It has grown from a single table of books in 1973 to become Scotland's largest charity book sale with tens of thousands of books each year, filling the church and spilling onto stalls outside. Over the years it has raised more than £3 million to help some of the world’s poorest communities.

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Although the sale is not happening this week the church is holding a reception on Thursday May 16, partly to thank helpers past and present but also to recruit new volunteers. Val Brown, head of Christian Aid in Scotland, will attend. Others planning to go are asked to inform the church at  [email protected].

Mr Burgess said: "One of the things we’re looking for is some younger blood to come and help, as many of our volunteers have been working at this for a very long time and are not in the first flush of youth. Hopefully this is a one-year pause and then we will be back fighting fit."

He said it was planned to go ahead with the smaller autumn sale of art and Scottish books, which has also become an annual event. It will take place October 17-19 and may have more books than usual this time.

* There is another Christian Aid book sale which is taking place this weekend. The Holy Corner book sale at Morningside United Church in Chamberlain Road, Bruntsfield, will be open on Saturday, May 11, from 10am until 5pm; on Sunday, May 12, from 1pm until 5pm; and on Monday, May 13, from 10am until noon.

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