EXCLUSIVE: Healthy food shop raises almost £29,000 in three days thanks to stars Oscar winner Mark Rylance and Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh

By Ryan Hogg

A donation from actor Mark Rylance has helped a Brixton shop raise nearly £29,000 in just three days.

Oscar, Tony and Olivier award winner Rylance, 61, stepped in with an undisclosed donation in the face of rising costs and decreased customer footfall following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk and Wolf Hall star’s donation was among several from the Brixton community that helped push it past its initial £20,000 target.

Rylance said: “I heard the from one of the employees that they might be closing, and that was quite a shock to me, so I asked her if she would consider seeing if there was a group of us that might support her.”

He credited the shop with introducing him to an organic lifestyle long before it was fashionable in 1985.

He said: “When I first walked in, I just remember being really struck by the fruit and vegetables. It felt very co-operative and community based.

“It feels to me as though big shops are coming in and take money out of the community, whereas shops like Brixton Wholefoods are spreading money around the community.

“Brixton would lose a vital friend if we lost them.

“I encourage anyone who values this store and its people to join me and many others who have already donated before me, in supporting them.”

Shop owner Hilary Waterfield, 68, said she was encouraged by Rylance to begin the GoFundMe last week, but never expected the generosity that would follow from Rylance and the Brixton community.

She said: “Everybody loves Mark, he’s so warm and full of compassion to human beings.

“He’s just been so good to us.

“It makes me feel quite emotional that so many people care so much.”

Waterfield has owned Brixton Wholefoods with her business partner Tony Benest, 69, since 1982, but in recent months both have had to pay for more stock with their pensions.

Rylance said: “You can be damn sure that Hilary and Tony haven’t been doing this for forty years for profit, they do it because of the principal of what they want to do for people.

“It’s really a work of art.”

Adjoa Andoh, 58, of Netflix’s Bridgerton, had previously donated £1,000 to the shop, while they also received a £6,000 donation from an anonymous source.

Waterfield says Andoh would come to the shop to buy food that would keep her awake on overnight journeys on her way to filming shows like Casualty.

Brixton Wholefoods has struggled with rental costs close to £40,000 since 2016, while the pandemic has led to a sharp drop in footfall.

Their problems were heightened by a break-in last week which left £2,000 in damage costs to their roof.

To contribute, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/SaveBrixtonWholefoods



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