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More than 650,000 people watched Andy Serkis’s marathon reading of The Hobbit

The actor said he was ‘truly humbled’ by the response.

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(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

More than 650,000 people tuned in to watch a live stream of Andy Serkis giving a marathon charity reading of The Hobbit.

The star, 56, best known for playing Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films, finished the JRR Tolkein novel in 11 hours and raised more than £280,000 for charity.

Serkis said he was “truly humbled” by the response to his reading.

After he finished, he added: “It has been wonderful connecting with you all, I hope you all enjoyed it.

“Thank you for joining me on this amazing journey, I have really loved sharing it with you.”

He described the reading, dubbed The Hobbitathon, as a “long old haul”.

Serkis completed the reading of the 1937 novel after only a handful of short breaks.

He had set an initial aim of raising £100,000, which was reached before he began, so a new target of £250,000 was set.

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(Jonathan Brady/PA)

(Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA

(Jonathan Brady/PA)

After receiving more than 20,000 donations from over 70 countries this has been raised to £350,000 as he continues to appeal for donations.

Serkis is raising money for NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings.

The actor has for over six years been an ambassador of Best Beginnings, a charity that works to support babies, toddlers, pregnant families and new parents and aims to reduce inequality.

NHS Charities Together is the umbrella organisation bringing together all the official charities of the health service.

Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/thehobbitathoncovid19appeal.

PA