One of Southbourne's last bookstores is desperate to sell stock ahead of its permanent closure next month.

St Martin's Charity Bookshop is set to close its doors after over two decades of selling books to raise money to help homeless people. 

Despite efforts to give books to other charities and those in need, trustee, Chris Williams, 78, said they are desperate to sell the books before their closure in February.

He said: "Since announcing our closure, we have sold a few more books but not enough. We've taken books to other charities like Julia's House but they can't accept them because they have too many, too.

"I think it's a sign of the times, in the 1980s there were 25 to 30 second-hand book shops in the area, now they're all gone."

Set to close on February 29, Chris said the main reasons for closure are the death of the high street and a drop in customers since the Cvoid pandemic. 

He said that in 1999 the store on Belle View Road would earn £200 a week, however, it is now lucky to raise £80. 

Chris also suggested the loss of the store's founder, Reverend David Ayton, as another reason it has struggled over recent years. 

He said: "David founded St Martin's charity to support local charities and give people with mental health issues the opportunity to work." 

"He was the kingpin of the charity and was very well-liked. He appointed 6 trustees, including me, and, although we've been coping, it's been a struggle after he passed away."

Rev Ayton started the charity in 1997 and died in June 2021, aged 76, after a series of falls and a stroke. 

Since his death, Chris has taken over the mantle of caring for the store with five other trustees.

Despite its closure, it is hoped that St Martin's will continue to help local charities.  

It has helped several local organisations in the past including Poole Foodbank, PDSA, and Mind. 

To aid the selling of books, the store will run a half-price sale until it closes to raise as much money as possible.