A FUNDRAISING appeal to save Jane Austen’s historic home - where the author wrote Pride and Prejudice - from permanent closure has successfully raised nearly £66,000 in just 36 hours.

Donations from across the globe flooded in after the charity which supports the home revealed the coronavirus pandemic could force the house to close its doors permanently.

Celebrities including Alan Titchmarsh, Lucy Worsley and David Baddiel all rallied to support the museum in Chawton, near Alton,which needed to raise £75,000 to avoid closing its doors forever.

Last Thursday morning the charity admitted they were in ‘an absolute struggle for survival’ as the fundraiser had only reached £13,000.

However, by midnight on Friday [June 12] they had smashed their target, raising £65,879 in less than two days.

Over the weekend they have managed to raise another £5,389 taking the grand total to £84,268.

Lizzie Dunford, director of the museum, said it is still not clear exactly when it can reopen - but due to social distancing, the small cottage will only be able to run at 25 per cent capacity.

She said: “After 36 hours of support and donations from across the globe, it is with immense gratitude and relief that we can say that the Jane Austen’s House Survival Appeal reached it’s target of £75,000 not long before midnight last night.

“Donations are still pouring in, which we are amazed and delighted to see.

“This will allow us not just to survive, but to recover so that we can continue to share Jane’s life, remarkable works, and ongoing legacy with the world to whom her writings mean so much.

“We are so very, very grateful, and have been staggered and overwhelmed by the levels of support.

“Jane Austen’s writing is universal and beloved by millions. To have ensure the future of the home that saw her create these treasured works means more than we can say.”

The Jane Austen House Museum, based in the home where the English novelist penned all her six novels, is described as ‘the most treasured Austen site in the world’.

But, the charity said it has been crippled by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak because it is entirely reliant on income from admissions and purchases, rather than any public funding.

After launching its very own ‘survival appeal’ calling on Austen devotees to help save it - celebrities including TV host Titchmarsh, historian Worsley and comedian Baddiel threw their support behind the campaign.

Mr Titchmarsh, 71, who lives near Alton, said: “I am a great supporter of Jane Austen’s House, not least because it’s barely a mile from where I live.

“But also because I love Jane’s works, whether it’s Sense and Sensibility, or Emma... she created a world, observed a world, that was real to her which we can now share.

“When you go to Jane Austen’s House, you feel her presence there, it’s one of those houses that really does have atmosphere.

“I love it, I go there regularly, I plant roses in the garden at Jane Austen’s House and I strongly urge you to give Jane Austen’s House at Chawton whatever support you can.”

Ms Worsley said the museum is ‘perhaps the closest to my heart of all’.

She added: “[It is] the place where every sentient person’s favourite author finished her six novels, ‘the most treasured Austen site in the world’.”

Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811 and Austen followed this with Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma.

Among its collection, the 17th century house boasts letters written by Austen, her personal jewellery and the small walnut tripod table at which she wrote.

The property was owned by Jane’s brother Edward, who had inherited the estate from an adoptive family. He invited Jane to live there in 1809, which she did until shortly before her death in 1817 at the age of 41.

A few weeks before she died she moved to College Street in Winchester to be nearer her doctor. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Actor Samuel West and his award winning playwright partner Laura Wade are also ambassadors for the museum.

To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/janeaustenshouse-COVID19appeal