LONDON — A tiny nonprofit in the city of Nottingham, England, was little known before a major financial frenzy flung it into the social media spotlight.
The World Wide Robin Hood Society, based in Sherwood, Nottingham, is run by a middle-aged couple enthusiastic about championing their hometown and the fable of the beguiling English legend and his merry band of outlaws, who robbed the rich to give to the poor.
On Thursday morning their Twitter account had just 350 followers, by Saturday it had 60,000 and counting.
Stopping the interview several times as notifications kept pinging on her phone, Lisa Douglas, 51, who is part of the organization with her husband and runs its social media accounts, told NBC News she was excited but overwhelmed by the global attention.
“This has come as a bit of a shock…It’s been absolutely amazing,” she said from her home.
“We’ve had so many people getting in touch and saying nice things,” she added. “We’ve been on the right side of the whole Robin Hood debacle.”
Lovely to have all these new followers .. can we just check that you know that you’re following The World Wide Robin Hood Society in Nottingham and not the Robin Hood App .. if so .. a big welcome from Sherwood 🙌
— Robin Hood (@robinhood) January 28, 2021
The attention comes after a mix-up of names during a stock market frenzy over the video game retailer, GameStop. It saw its share price inflate wildly on the stock trading app Robinhood, boosted by support from online traders and members of a Reddit messaging board.
The roller-coaster financial journey made global headlines, as it pitted small-time investors and online communities against traditional Wall Street short-sellers.
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Like many others, Douglas says she doesn’t fully understand the finances behind the GameStop saga but said it proved the message of Robin Hood’s rebellious legend still resonated in 2021.
“A lot of people are feeling very aggrieved at the moment about what’s happened with the Robinhood app, and you like to root for the little guy — and I think Robin Hood is the perfect example,” she said.
Many new followers of the Robin Hood Society — most from America but also Australia and Canada — have pledged to visit the English city of 300,000 people, said Douglas. While others have shared family links to Britain, offered to make donations or simply said hello, she added.
Douglas, who calls herself “a Nottingham girl,” said the society began in 1998, co-founded by her husband who works in IT and a few other Robin Hood enthusiasts. They hope the current attention will draw people to visit their city, which boasts famous forests and a medieval castle.
And does she have a message for the society’s new fans?
“We’d just like to say thank you to everybody … it’s been lovely to connect with people from across the world,” she said.
Adela Suliman is a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital.