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Shane Richie aka ‘Alfie Moon’: Walford’s
Favourite Barman Shows His Charitable Side
By Kimberly Johnson
Alfie Moon is one of the most beloved characters on EastEnders. He always has a big
smile and a laugh for all, and a helping hand for those in need. But there is one man I've
met that is much more charitable and generous and that happens to be Shane Richie, the
man responsible for Alfie Moon's smile.
Richie has spent this past January gathering EastEnders memorabilia, such as a shirt of
Alfie’s, to be auctioned off for UNC’s “Festival” fundraiser this Feb. 27. It is the second
consecutive year he has donated such items for the campaign.
In August 2009, the BBC came to America to film part of a special program for their
Children In Need charity broadcast. The show was "80 Days Around the World" and it
involved six pairs of celebrities who each took a portion of the journey circling the globe.
Because the two celebrities doing the leg through the South were both Eastenders, the
North Carolina EastEnders fan clubs were contacted and asked to participate in a special
event. We were invited to have dinner with the two actors, not knowing who they would
be, and we jumped at the chance.
The night of the dinner was a very hot 95 degrees and humid, and we were all outside
on a patio. There wasn't even a breeze. As we melted in the heat, an RV turned the
corner and all thoughts of discomfort left. Shane Richie stepped out of the vehicle and it
sounded like the Beatles' arrival. All my very well mannered, grown-up friends turned
into giggling school girls and boys and went all gooey. Shane took it as he seems to take
everything, with a smile, a laugh and a lot of class.
Both Shane and Josie Lawrence, his partner on their leg of the journey, seemed to enjoy
the meet and greet part of the night. Questions were tossed left and right and they fielded
them as well as possible. They were both incredibly gracious and let people take quite a
lot of photos and videos. As our questions died down a bit, Shane's started. He found out
about the fans in NC. He was told where we were in the storyline at the time (since we
are about four years behind) and was pleasantly surprised to find out he was still a main
character on our screens. He had actually already left Eastenders and wasn't on the show
anymore in the UK.
Shane also found out how we are able to get EE in NC. He was told all about the fan
clubs' participation in the annual fundraising for PBS. We have one night a year where
the clubs take over Festival for three hours and raise all the money needed to keep the
show on the air in our area. That's not a small task considering the tens of thousands of
dollars required each year.. I'm not sure if it was the concept that we had to pay for the
show ourselves or if it was that we did it in such a short time period, but I do believe Mr.
Richie was impressed.
At the conclusion of the night, Shane and Josie donated a sign from the show with
autographs from the cast to help us raise money during Festival 2010. But the generosity
didn't stop there. When Mr. Richie found out that I stay in London quite a bit for work,
he offered to drop off some items from his EastEnders days to help us raise even more. I
really didn't believe that much would come of this, since it had just been such a fun night
and well intended promises are always made at the end of a fun night. I thought he was
being kind and offering support, but I really did believe that our little fan club and efforts
would be forgotten. I could not have been more wrong.
About a month before Festival 2010, I had a message that Mr. Richie had some items for
me to take back to the states. I was shocked. I didn't think he'd remember us or our cause.
He sure did. He brought a large bag to me full of all sorts of EastEnders goodies from his
personal collection about an hour before my flight left London. I wasn't sure I'd be able
to fit all the items in my luggage! He brought numerous signed magazines and photos
and autographed copies of his book. He even donated a shirt he had worn on one of the
episodes. So he was giving us the shirt off his back (or actually Alfie's) to help us keep
Eastenders on the air in NC.
The items he donated helped us meet and surpass our fundraising goal and also added a
bit of electricity to the event. It was so much fun to see the reaction of those in the studio
to the items. To actually have an Eastender know about our clubs and know about our
efforts to keep the show on the air tickled quite a lot of them. I overheard one group of
young ladies practically swoon over the fact that a bit of his make-up could be seen on
the shirt. "O M G! He actually wore that shirt!"
Shane seems to thrive on charitable works. The "80 Days Around The World" program
wasn't his first effort for the Children In Need charity. You can see his video of "I'm Your
Man" on youtube.com. This was filmed for CIN in 2005 and went to number one on the
charts in the UK. Watch it and you will see why. It's pure Shane with humor, song, and
a bit of flash. CIN is one of the largest efforts on UK television every year for charity.
Shane has been a long time supporter and has appeared on at least the last 10 broadcasts.
His generosity, though, isn't just for the famous charities. I took a bold step a few months
ago and sent him a note asking for a favor. I knew of a special project for a breast cancer
patient in the UK. I wasn't sure if I should ask for his help, but I did. I really thought it
was a long shot since it wasn't something being broadcast and wouldn't make the papers.
Maybe, I thought, his charity time is best used on bigger events. But his response was
amazing. "You can bug me anytime regarding charity." He didn't care that it wasn't a big
time event, or a well known effort. He just cared that he could do something for someone
else. That to me defines a generous heart.
Spoiler Alert! If you don't already know, Shane has returned to Eastenders and Alfie
Moon is back behind the bar in the Queen Vic where he belongs. I wasn't sure if I'd hear
from him this year regarding Festival, since he was dealing with his high profile return
and a very involved story line. But I had a note last week saying he was gathering items
for me to pick up to help out with our fundraising. Here he is having a huge year with
Alfie's homecoming, and yet he is still thinking about the fans in North Carolina.
There are many great characters that have passed through the square over the years. Alfie
Moon is one of the most fun. But even better is the real life version, Shane Richie. His
generosity and kindness make him one of my all time favorite people both on and off the
screen. Nothing beats a man with a charitable heart!