Hugh Grant’s £10,000 donation a ‘wonderful shock’ for charity founder

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The founder of a charity that provides free plumbing and heating for the elderly or vulnerable has said he is “shocked” by Hugh Grant’s £10,000 donation to the cause.

James Anderson, who founded the charity Depher in 2017, told the PA news agency he had to look twice before believing the British star had made the donation, which GoFundMe has now verified and attributed to the actor.

“I didn’t believe it was him… It’s a shock but it’s wonderful,” the 54-year-old said.

The payment was made to the charity’s GoFundMe page for its winter fundraising appeal, which has raised over £70,000.

Mr Anderson, whose charity has helped more than 19,000 families, stressed how important Mr Grant’s donation will be.

“That’s 10 boilers for people with cancer. Ten boilers for people who are dying,” the plumbing and heating engineer said.

Grant’s gesture is about “awareness” for the Depher founder, who also thinks he’s a “brilliant actor”.

“I love him. I love the way he talks. He’s a brilliant actor… He’s a character and a typical British upstanding man,” said Mr Anderson.

“A donation off someone like Hugh is not just about the money, it’s about awareness – sharing and letting people know, showing the public and government the reality of what is going on.”

Mr Anderson, who is based in Burnley, explained how mounting pressures surrounding the charity work almost led him to take his life last year.

“It was worth the pain, it was worth the anger and tears to get to where we are now… To see how many people we’ve helped, smiles we’ve seen and lives we have saved, it’s really humbling for me to know that we’ve done that,” Mr Anderson said.

In July 2021, Mr Anderson said he was close to having to shut down Depher because of a lack of funding amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but the charity has since recovered.

He went viral in September 2019, shortly after he set up Depher, when a picture of his bill for £0 sent to a 91-year-old woman with acute leukemia was posted online.

To donate to Mr Anderson’s GoFundMe, click here: www.gofundme.com/f/elderly-and-vulnerable-free-plumbing-heating

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