Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been hailed for her “exceptional support” after a multiple sclerosis research clinic named after her late mother was officially opened.
The ribbon was cut at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh University by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.
Established with a £10 million donation from Ms Rowling, work at the clinic will focus on finding treatments to slow the progression of MS and other neurological diseases, with the ultimate aim of repairing damage to patients’ systems.
The list of currently incurable conditions it will concentrate on includes motor neurone disease, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as autism and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Ms Rowling, whose mother died of complications from MS at the age of 45, attended the official opening yesterday, but did not speak at the event.
The Princess Royal, in her role as chancellor of the university, unveiled a plaque at the centre, based at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, in Little France, to mark the occasion.
Paying tribute to the backing Ms Rowling has given to MS research, she told the gathering: “It’s always a pleasure to see developments happening because this is a particular area of interest, as far as I’m
“To be able to come [to the university] every now and again and really see what I consider to be step changes happening in an area which I think, to a degree, has been slightly below the horizon in the past is a huge encouragement.
“It’s a huge encouragement for people like us but I hope it’s more encouraging to those who are patients now, for whom it is very much part of their work. It’s their involvement which is making those step changes possible.”
She added: “None of this happens without support and to have the exceptional support that we’ve had from Jo
Rowling is quite astonishing. We’ve got to make the best use of that and I hope she will make sure that we do that.”
Ms Rowling made her £10m donation in 2010, when she reached the age at which her mother died.
The best-selling author said in a statement: “I am moved and elated to see the Anne Rowling Clinic formally opened today.
“Having observed the plans for the clinic develop and expand to fulfil the needs of patients, clinicians and researchers, I am now very proud to see the building finished and operating as the beating heart of this centre for excellence.”