JK Rowling, Sir Elton John top generous celebrities list

Author JK Rowling. Picture: Dan Hallman/Invision/AP
Author JK Rowling. Picture: Dan Hallman/Invision/AP
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JK Rowling and Sir Elton John have topped a list of the most generous celebrities, giving away more than £37 million between them in the past year.

The Rocket Man singer gave away £26.8m in 12 months, mostly to his Aids foundations in Britain and America, according to the Sunday Times Giving List.

Harry Potter author Rowling emerged as the second most generous celebrity, with £10.3m generated and donated by her charities the Lumos Foundation, which aims to end the institutionalising of children by 2050, and the Volant Charitable Trust, which funds projects that alleviate social deprivation, as well as research into multiple sclerosis.

The giving list is ranked by the proportion of wealth given away in the past year.

Stars of the sporting world also made significant contributions to charity, with David Beckham raising £5m and former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie’s foundation in memory of his mother raising £4.5m for cancer care centres.

Musicians also parted with their wealth for good causes, with Coldplay donating £1.7m and Ringo Starr raising more than £6m through an auction of Beatles memorabilia, with a portion going to his Lotus Foundation, which funds projects advancing social welfare.

Financial expert Martin Lewis, chef Jamie Oliver, golfer Rory McIlroy, boyband One Direction and Queen musicians Brian May and Roger Taylor also feature among the top celebrity givers.

Almost a fifth (178) of the 1000 people in the list have donated at least £1m to charity in the past year, adding up to £2.66 billion in donations. The Sainsbury family topped the giving list for the third consecutive year. They gave away £220m through a network of 18 trusts.

Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter and his sister Ann 
Gloag generated or donated more than £20m for mainly social, medical and Christian causes.

Meanwhile, JK Rowling’s alter ego Robert Galbraith will be pitted against debut novelists and stalwarts of the genre for a crime-writing prize.

Rowling, who writes crime novels under the male pseudonym, is featured on the longlist for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

newsen@edinburghnews.com