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Is Norfolk woman Willemina Hill the inspiration behind one of JK Rowling’s characters?

PUBLISHED: 08:18 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:41 26 March 2014

Willemina Hill is selling her signed Harry Potter book.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Willemina Hill is selling her signed Harry Potter book. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

Meet Willemina Hill – the Norfolk woman who may have inspired one of the magical characters in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

For 32-year-old Ms Hill, from Deopham, believes a special inscription written by the author in her first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets means that she might have had a starring role in the series.

‘To Willemina (excellent name! I must use it in a book!) JK Rowling,’ was the inscription penned by the writer at a book signing in 1998.

And when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in 2000, a character called Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank featured in the fourth book about the adventures of the boy wizard.

The substitute Care of Magical Creatures teacher also returned to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the fifth novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Ms Hill, who is now selling the book at an auction later this month, had met her favourite author and received the inscription at an Aberdeen bookstore signing around the time Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, the Philosopher’s Stone, and when I found out she was going to release a second book in the series and would be signing it at my local bookshop, I was really excited.

“I wanted to tell her how much I enjoyed the first book!”

Ms Hill remembers “rushing to the bookstore” and grabbing two copies of the Chamber of Secrets.

“This was before she hit the big time, so it’s funny to think back how quiet and unassuming it all was. The bookshop was quite empty. She was lovely to talk to,” Ms Hill added.

She continued: “I think she perhaps did use my name in future Harry Potter books, as per her inscription in my signed book – there is a character called Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank.”

Ms Hill, who works for Rainbow Wholefoods in Norwich, said she had decided to sell her signed Harry Potter book because she had “been carrying it around in a Dr Martens shoe box for years,” and that she hoped another Harry Potter fan would now get a lot of pleasure from the book.

The first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will be auctioned by Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham on March 27 and 28 with an estimate of £1,000 to £1,200.

An unsigned first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will also go under the hammer with a similar estimate.

For more about the auction visit

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