Belfast Telegraph

People of NI world's most generous, says Harry Potter star Miriam

By Ivan Little

A quirky star of the Harry Potter films has told Americans that people in Northern Ireland are the most generous in the world

A big TV audience watched as award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes became Ulster's most unexpected champion.

The ringing endorsement of our largesse came out of the blue in the opening episode of the new BBC One series, Miriam's Big American Adventure.

Cameras followed the 76-year-old star, who played Professor Pomona Sprout in the hugely successful wizard movies, as she went on a road trip through middle America talking to a huge range of people.

One of her interviewees was a man who came to the States from Africa and was filmed at a party to celebrate him becoming an American citizen.

At one point the man claimed that America was the best country on Earth and its people were the most caring in the world, but Margolyes countered: "I challenge you.

"The most generous nation in the world per head of the population are the Northern Irish."

She didn't say what evidence she had for her claim about people from the province and she didn't quote any sources.

But Ms Margolyes has been criticised on Twitter for her TV comments.

One poster EimearE said her remark was "ridiculous and incorrect" adding: "It's simply THE Irish."

Miriam's Big American Adventure is a three-part series, with two more episodes to be shown chronicling her journey across the United States from Chicago to New Orleans.

Along the way she meets the people whose voices and votes are reshaping the nation.

The most recent World Giving survey from the Charities Aid Foundation said the people of war-ravaged Myanmar are the most generous people in the world. The people of Iraq and Libya were also featured in the top five, with Ireland being listed in the top 10 at number nine.

Another report from the Charities Aid Foundation said its research found that people in Northern Ireland were more likely to donate to charity than people who lived in other parts of the UK.

Last year the province came out top in a National Lottery survey to find the friendliest region in the UK.

And Fermanagh emerged as the friendliest county.

Belfast Telegraph

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