Last year we took Ricky Tomlinson’s autobiography on holiday with us and admired him even more after hearing of his beliefs and that, although he is now a big star, he has never forgotten his working class Liverpool roots. In fact, he is one of the few people who have made it and still stayed in Liverpool. He just genuinely sounds like a nice man.
Last week we were shocked at the news that he had donated £1million to the Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children’s hospital to help parents stay with the sick children while staying at the hospital. Furthermore, unlike most stars, he did it quietly without fuss and without wanting any thanks for the donation. He took the step of making the donation through his accountant and under his real name of Eric Tomlinson, to avoid publicity.
Many stars make donations to their favourite charities. For some it is easy to be cynical and think they do it to avoid paying tax on the money they donate. However, Ricky is not Bill Gates; he does not have billions of pounds lying around. He is a working actor who has had success but whom a million pounds would be a great deal of money to.
Even when the story leaked to the press Ricky still refused to comment.
Jan Thomas, a director of Ronald McDonald House said last week, “We are absolutely overwhelmed at Ricky’s modesty and generosity. He has made such a difference to the families who need to stay at Ronald McDonald House.”
Ronald McDonald House provides accommodation for 69 parents and families of children who have to stay at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. The new flats will include a bedroom, kitchen, dining and lounge facilities and bathroom.
Mrs Thomas added, “His accountant rang us and said Eric Tomlinson wants to make a donation. We didn’t know who Eric Tomlinson was. Then we realised it was Ricky. I asked him why he wanted to give the donation and he said, ‘it’s for the kids – they are the future’.”
Ricky made the donation two years ago after visiting the charity but they had been able to keep the secret ever since. It only came to light when someone noticed the donation in the charity’s accounts.
Ricky laid a time capsule in the foundations of the building last Monday. Speaking at the ceremony Ricky said, “I’m delighted to be here today to support Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey. The house provides a vital lifeline to parents and families who come to hospital with their critically ill children and these new apartments will be able to give them some much needed support during an incredibly difficult time. I’m looking forward to seeing them completed in June 2011.”
The Bears all agree Ricky Tomlinson is a true legend. We have no choice but to make him a Hero of The Bears.