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Can a Bethnal Green man who works in a shoe shop solve the Greek debt crisis?

Jonny Ensall

29-year-old east Londoner Thom Feeney launched an IndieGogo crowd-funding campaign yesterday, to help the embattled EU nation of Greece pay off its creditors and get back on its feet. 

The target? A cool €1,600,000,000 (that’s 1.6 billion), to be reached within eight days. But the campaign’s already hit €150,000 within 48 hours, with support seeming to grow exponentially for the idea. As Thom puts it: ‘The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy.’ 

In return for donating, funders receive Greek perks, such as a bottle of ouzo, or a feta and olive salad (608 have already been claimed). So why would a Londoner who – he tells us – hasn’t been to Greece before, decide to lend a helping hand to Athens? And how the hell is this going to work if he reaches the target? We contacted him for the lowdown.  

Hey Thom. Have you been to Greece before?

‘I’ve not been to Greece, no. I planned to visit the Greek Islands as an 18-year-old when I started learning Greek. Unfortunately I never managed either. Though I can still recall the Greek for “good morning” and “a taxi please”.’

What on earth will you do if the fund reaches €1.6 billion? Apart from taking your rightful place as a Greek national hero?

‘If it gets to €1.6bn I think I'll try and give Mr Tsipras [the Greek PM] a call, and see what's next. If he can't use the cash then I'll set about helping the Greek people in another way.' 

How are you planning to fulfil the feta salad promises? 

‘As for the perks, I'm probably going to need a hand. But that was the point all along. This isn't just about donating money to Greece. We can stimulate the economy by trade. Selling Greek products and employing people to make and send them. Don't just think of the cash in isolation.’ 

Have you ever crowdfunded anything before? 

‘No, though I might have another go if this one is a success.’ 

Does anyone actually like ouzo? 

‘My mum has some tales of wonderful tales of drinking ouzo in Greece the ’80s. I doubt she's had it for a while but I reckon she'd still have a tipple. That seems to be one of the more popular options at the mo!’

Do you think London has problems of its own that need sorting out?

‘Of course. Affordable housing is the number one priority. We have a government that believes in cutting, rather than investing. But the plight of Greece and the Greek people affects us all. Just look at how much money was wiped off the value of the stock market yesterday.’ 

Ultimately, the campaign’s not even 1/10,000th of the way towards its goal. But, if Europe gets hold of the idea, who knows where it could lead? And the Greek government’s unlikely to sniff at the cash – they’ve no reason to beware of east Londoners bearing gifts. 

Find out how you can donate here.

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