A fundraiser to keep Hay Festival afloat amid the coronavirus outbreak is close to the £80,000 mark just days after being launched.

The festival is among the major events to have been cancelled as the country increasingly goes into lockdown to prevent the virus spreading further, and with more devastating consequences.

After announcing the cancellation of this year's event, the not-for-profit literary festival issued an appeal to raise £150,000 to keep it going – and it has already passed the halfway mark just four days after launching.

As of Tuesday lunchtime, the fund was standing at more than £78,000, from 1,600 donors.

The 33rd edition of the spring festival was due to take place May 21 to 31, with big-name writers such as Stephen Fry, Hilary Mantel and Sandi Toksvig to be joined by musicians Van Morrison, duo Aled Jones and Russell Watson, and performances from Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour.