An independent high street book shop has delivered 80 copies of a bestselling children’s book to schools around Colchester free of charge.

Red Lion Books organised a crowdfunding campaign whereby publishers, customers, and the shop itself all chipped in so that a free copy of Marcus Rashford’s book, titled You are a Champion – Be the Best You Can Be, could go to every school in the area.

The book, written by the Manchester United and England footballer – alongside a journalist and psychologist – aims to help children become more confident and resilient.

It is aimed at children in the upper years of primary school and the lower years of secondary school.

The idea of distributing the book came after the book’s publishers, Macmillan Children’s, offered Rashford’s book to bookshops around the country for half the price in a bid to get children reading.

Jo Coldwell, who helped organise the crowdfunding and distribution of the book, explained how Red Lion Books put into practice the idea of getting the book out to schools.

Gazette: Red Lion Books delivered 80 copies of a bestselling children’s book to schools around Colchester free-of-charge

She said: “What we didn’t know was whether our contribution to the crowdfunding would be enough, and how we would get the books into the right hands.

“We thought about giving the copies away for free – but then most of our customers buy books anyway, and we want to be reaching out to people who don’t normally buy books from us.”

After Macmillan Children’s offered to match Red Lion Books’ offer – meaning that the bookshop could buy twice as many copies of the book for the same price – Mrs Coldwell realised that the £350 they had crowdfunded was enough to deliver books to schools all over the borough.

“One of my colleagues had a list of headteachers at all the local schools, then we found all the addresses and sent the books out – we didn’t mind covering the postage.

“The schools will know who to give the books to – we don’t mind how they do it, as long as kids get to read the books.

“We trust every teacher to get it into the right hands, because the book really appeals to kids.”