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The Hobbitathon COVID 19 Appeal

Tax deductible
On 8th May,  Andy Serkis embarked on a staggering feat, reading the entire The Hobbit novel, cover to cover in an 11 hour sitting, inhabiting each character as only he can. Andy's #Hobbitathon enthralled more than 650,000 fans across the world as he took live-storytelling to a new level and lifted everyone’s lockdown spirits.
"Riddles in the Dark" - Chapter 5, during which Bilbo Baggins finds The Ring and Andy transforms back-and-forth between Gollum and Bilbo Baggins was particularly awe-inspiring. Indeed, since Andy’s Hobbitathon, there have been requests from across the world for a repeat performance.

Harper Collins and the Tolkien Estate have generously given permission to release Chapter 5 on the Best Beginnings YouTube channel for a month, to benefit NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings.

Andy’s magnificent reading of Chapter 5: ‘Riddles in the Dark’ of The Hobbit is available for fans across the world to watch, listen to and enjoy until 14th June.

All donations will be split equally between NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, for which Andy has been an ambassador for more than six years.  Please give generously and share this page so your friends and family can enjoy "Riddles in the Dark" and also have the opportunity to make a difference

Andy commented: “The response to the Hobbitathon has been incredible, and I’m so grateful to everyone who tuned in and has already generously donated to the campaign. In an effort to continue our fundraising efforts for NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, and in answer to the countless requests I’ve had from you to experience it again, or those who were unable to join me on the day, I’m thrilled to announce that the team at HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate have graciously agreed to allow us to release Chapter 5, 'Riddles in the Dark’ online for a limited period. So please do visit, My Preciousssssssssss!, and continue to help our frontline workers and families in these difficult times.”

Alison Baum OBE, CEO of Best Beginnings, said: “During COVID-19, the need for our NHS approved Baby Buddy app has increased as pregnant families and parents with young babies are isolated from their normal support network and are experiencing increased anxiety levels. Over the last month, more than 97% of Baby Buddy users who completed a survey reported that they would recommend the app to friends and family as it is giving them access to reliable information, helping them bond with their baby, supporting their emotional, mental and physical health and helping them with their relationships.

Alison continued, “Along with many other charities, Best Beginnings’ income has been severely hit by the pandemic and our continued work was in jeopardy. We will be forever grateful to our ambassador and friend, Andy Serkis, for conceiving and delivering the Hobbitathon to raise vital money to support our continued work and the work of NHS Charities Together. Our Team and Trustees would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated and everyone who will donate once they’ve watched Riddles in the Dark. It’s awesome!“  

The Hobbit - Chapter 5: Riddles in the Dark can be viewed at:

Please share this campaign and remember the hashtag #Hobbitathon

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is copyright (c) The Tolkien Estate 1937

About Best Beginnings
Best Beginnings is working tirelessly during the #COVID19 pandemic to support babies, toddlers, pregnant families and new parents and reduce inequalities. The charity empowers and informs parents of all backgrounds through their NHS accredited pregnancy and parenting, Baby Buddy App. Baby Buddy, provides the up-to-date and clinically assured information and more than 300 video clips to support families during this difficult time when they are separated from their wider support networks. From within Baby Buddy, parents and expectant parents in emotional pain or crisis can click through to the clinically supervised 24/7 “Baby Buddy Crisis Messenger”. It costs Best Beginnings £17.00 to support a parent for a year with their award-winning Baby Buddy app.

Funding raised through the Hobbitathon will help Best Beginnings support the mental and physical health of many thousands of pregnant families and new parents of all backgrounds. By sponsoring Andy Serkis people will be playing a part in helping protect babies and parents at this time of global turmoil and protect their futures. 

About NHS Charities Together
NHS Charities Together is the umbrella organisation that brings together all the official charities of the NHS. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, it launched an urgent appeal to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients and thanks to fantastic support from the public, the appeal has raised over £100 million in just 6 weeks.

£20 million has already been given out in grants to NHS charities across the UK and is being used to meet the immediate and urgent needs of staff, volunteers and patients – providing somewhere comfortable so they can take a break, nutritious food and drink, use of electronic-tablets so patients, staff and volunteers can stay in contact with loved ones, counselling support to protect mental health and help staff and volunteers process what they are dealing with. The funding is also going towards helping vital partnerships outside hospitals, such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients who leave hospital have access to the care they need to recover. In the longer term it will also fund programmes to help staff and families recover fully once the crisis has abated, reducing the long-term impact on them and the people they care about.


  • Andy Hollis
    • £10 
    • 2 yrs
  • Marion Hirte
    • £20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Denise Baker
    • £10 
    • 2 yrs
    • £10 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 2 yrs


Andy Serkis
Best Beginnings
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.

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