The founder of a charity that provides free plumbing and heating services for the elderly and vulnerable has hailed Hugh Grant as “godly” after the actor donated £5,000 to the cause’s national launch on GoFundMe.
James Anderson said Grant’s donation, which has now been verified by GoFundMe, will buy Christmas presents for at least 397 children this year as Depher extends its services beyond making sure people have heating and hot water.
“Because of Hugh, there’s going to be 397 children this Christmas who are going to have Christmas presents in the morning (and) there are families that are going to have meals on Christmas Day,” the 54-year-old told the PA news agency.
“One family would have woken up to two tin of beans (and) a piece of bread, but because of Hugh, they’re going to wake up to a full Christmas dinner.”
Depher, founded by Mr Anderson in 2017, has helped more than 19,000 families get free heating and hot water in their homes.
The payment by Grant was made to the charity’s most recent GoFundMe which has now raised more than £19,000 and is hoping to launch the charity in every town and city in the UK.
Mr Anderson described the donation as “godly” as Grant had previously donated £10,000 to another campaign of the charity’s last month.
“It was another shock, it was a surprise to see the £5,000. I had the biggest smile on my face,” he said.
“It’s godly. If God was showing himself to people, it would be through people like Hugh.”
Based in Burnley, Mr Anderson stressed how important the actor’s second donation will be to expanding Depher nationwide ahead of the holidays.
“There’s a family in Scotland, a mum and two children, struggling (and) very depressed. She’s now having her Christmas shopping delivered to her by Tesco’s that we bought because of Hugh,” he said.
“I don’t think he actually realises what he’s done, he’s done a lot more than what he could have imagined.
“It’s his money that’s saving these people’s lives and stopping these people from suffering.”
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.
The charity founder added that he would relish the chance to thank Grant for all he has contributed.
“I would love to speak to the man because I love his acting, I love Bridget Jones’s Diary when he had the fight in the street.
“I got up and jumped up and down in that scene because he was fighting for love, and that’s just another side of me that comes out – I’m a very soppy guy,” he said.
“You’ve given someone a warm home and you’ve given someone a meal on the table, that is priceless. To say that to him would be wonderful.”
To donate to Depher’s GoFundMe, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/national-launch-of-depher-cic-uk