JK Rowling yesterday revealed a £1 million donation to charities helping some of society’s most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.
The donation, the latest in a string of donations to good causes by the Harry Potter author, will be split between homeless help group Crisis, and Refuge, who support those affected by domestic abuse.
Announcing the move yesterday, Ms Rowling also revealed she has three key workers among her immediate family members, saying she was “torn between pride and anxiety”.
On Twitter, she said: “Today’s the 22nd anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, but I’m going to be honest and say that it feels inappropriate to talk about fictional deaths today. Too many people are losing loved ones in the real world.
“So, on this anniversary of a great wizarding victory, I’m thinking of the people who are out there doing their jobs to protect us and our way of life.
“I have three key workers in my immediate family and, like all such relatives, I’m torn between pride and anxiety.
“As ever in a crisis of this sort, the poorest and most vulnerable are hit hardest so, in honour of the Battle of Hogwarts, I’ll be making a donation of £1m, half of which will go to Crisis, which is helping the homeless during the pandemic, and half of which will go to Refuge, because we know that domestic abuse has, sadly, increased hugely during the lockdown.”
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are overwhelmed to have the support of JK Rowling and we’d like to say a huge thank you for her incredibly generous donation. People experiencing homelessness during the outbreak have been hit especially hard. The money donated by JK Rowling will go towards our frontline response to the pandemic, helping us to carry on supporting people who are homeless across Great Britain at this very difficult time.
“Together we can protect more people from the worst effects of the outbreak and make sure they are safely housed when it is over.”
Refuge added: “This is wonderful news and it comes at a time when we have seen calls to our already overwhelmed helpline increase by 50% during Covid-19. Our huge thanks, JK Rowling. Your support will underpin our frontline specialist services and enable us to reach more abused women who need us.”
Ms Rowling said last month that she believed she may have had coronavirus – adding she wasn’t tested – and praised a breathing technique recommended to her by her husband Neil Murray, a doctor, for helping relieve symptoms.
It is thought her husband, an anaesthetist whom she married in 2001, has returned to the NHS frontline to help battle coronavirus. The medical register suggests Dr Murray has returned to work after retiring, but a spokesman declined to comment.
Ms Rowling is well known for her donations to charitable causes and has given away many millions of her fortune – estimated to exceed £500m – to good causes. The author, who wrote her Harry Potter novels while a single mum in Edinburgh, supports a number of organisations, mainly through her charitable trust, Volant.
She is also the founder and president of the international children’s charity Lumos. She was also Patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Scotland and continues to support MS research via the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, named after her mother who died from MS in 1990.
Ms Rowling was also a patron of the Maggie’s Centres for Cancer Care for several years. The Harry Potter franchise is estimated to be worth in excess of £10 billion. Ms Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter books on a manual typewriter as she couldn’t afford a computer, and they were rejected by 12 publishers before finally being accepted.
She also gave advice on writing during an online question and answer session yesterday, stating: “You’ll probably hit a point where you need to stop and do a bit more world-building, but if you’re itching to start, then do it. The worst that can happen is you’ll need to rewrite a bit later.”
Meanwhile, the UK has announced £76m of funding for domestic violence victims and rough sleepers in England.