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MND campaign: Rare The Hobbit edition will raise more for fight after Express victory

22 January 2022 | Express } Justin Stoneman

A rare first edition copy of The Hobbit will be auctioned to raise money for the fight against motor neurone disease thanks to a Sunday Express campaign.

Ben Wadsworth, 33, a manager at WeBuyBooks, was inspired” to donate the proceeds of the sale after feeling emotional” in reading about [the Expresss] Fund the Fight against MND” crusade.… Mr Wadsworth said his colleagues at the second-hand book company in Rossendale, Lancashire, were particularly touched by the account of Royd Tolkien, the great-grandson of The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien, in nursing his brother Mike as he battled MND.…


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A RARE first edition copy of The Hobbit will be auctioned to raise money for the fight against motor neurone disease thanks to a Sunday Express campaign.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (Image: Handout)

Ben Wadsworth, 33, a manager at WeBuyBooks, was inspired” to donate the proceeds of the sale after feeling emotional” in reading about our Fund The Fight Against MND crusade.

This secured a major victory last November when the Government pledged £50million funding for targeted research to find a cure for the brutal terminal disease.

Mr Wadsworth said his colleagues at the second-hand book company in Rossendale, Lancashire, were particularly touched by the account of Royd Tolkien, the great-grandson of The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien, in nursing his brother Mike as he battled MND.

He said: We had followed the Sunday Express campaign every week.

Reading Royd’s dedication to his brother was a defining moment, it touched a lot of hearts, we knew from that moment that we had to somehow get involved.

Serendipity arrived when we received a batch of second-hand books and amongst them discovered a first edition print of The Hobbit.

I contacted Royd, thanked him for his efforts towards MND, and said we wanted to help. I told him we planned to auction the book and discussed how any funds raised might best help the cause.

We traditionally support local hospice groups and on this occasion giving half the auction proceeds to Royd’s cause felt supportive.”

Royd, 52, said: It was such a kind gesture from your newspaper readers at the book company.

When they asked how they could best help, I realised that touching lives directly was crucial.

The Sunday Express campaign was a watershed moment in the battle against MND.

We are talking about a global impact — the £50million scored also placed pressure on other governments.

With that research support locked in, when the book company asked what would best help today I thought of Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

He is an inspiration.”

The book has been listed for auction at Bonhams in March with a guide price of £2,000.

Scotland and British Lions rugby union great Doddie Weir, 51, said the book company gesture felt like divine intervention”. 

This all seems like destiny,” he added.

My family are huge Tolkien fans, we even recently travelled to see the Hobbit village in New Zealand and visit director Peter Jackson’s museum.

Royd has done an amazing job for MND and combining our forces sounds perfect.

I say thank you to the Sunday Express for what they’ve made happen, and to the thoughtfulness of WeBuyBooks and Royd Tolkien.”

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