A fundraiser appeal launched in actor Sam Heughan's name has raised more than £45,000  that will go towards supporting Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre.

The fundraising page, named ‘Save A Seat For Sam This Christmas’, gives supporters the chance to purchase a ticket for a virtual event in celebration of Sam Heughan.

Set up by two fans of the hit show Outlander, American Savannah Forge and Australian Tash Pow have revealed that they are "thrilled" at the response in the two short weeks since their campaign began, and are "excited" at the prospect of the next two weeks of fundraising.

They said: "We are thrilled to announce, that within the first two weeks of our Save a Seat For Sam Heughan Fundraiser, benefiting the Royal Lyeum Theatre Edinburgh, we have raised $60,000.

"This has been raised by fans, just like us, in appreciation of Sam.

"We are very, very excited to see how much more we can raise for the theatre in the remaining two weeks of the fundraiser."

Mr Heughan, earlier expressed his gratitude online, calling it a "wonderful" and "lovely idea."

READ MORE: Outlander star Sam Heughan thanks fans trying to save Edinburgh theatre

The performance, to take place virtually on December 12,  will showcase close friends and colleagues sharing their stories about the popular Scottish actor.

The Theatre's Artistic Director, David Greig, said he "literally jumped for joy" and praised the "extraordinary" total raised so far.

He said: "Outlander fans, knowing how much The Lyceum means to Same Heughan, came together to help us and what extraordinary generosity!

"It's been a hard year but this is a moment of hope."

"There's been so many days during the last year when I've felt the ground shift under us, usually for the worst: shutting our doors, opening's postponed, jobs lost... this is a moment when one realises how much theatre means to people, and how kind people can be, it's very special."

He added: "[Sam Heughan] has been an absolute brick during this Covid crisis. Supporting theatre in general and The Lyceum in particular.

"His fans are the best."

Mr Greig also wrote of how the Save A Seat For Sam campaign told the story about "how theatre is woven into our broader cultural life."

He said: "The writers, actors, designers and directors who make the series we love so much very often got their start in local youth theatres, or on community hall stages in rural tours."

In October, a crowdfunding appeal for Capital Theatres in Edinburgh raised almost £87,000 in just four weeks, as Edinburgh theatre-lovers rallied behind the popular venues.

Panto baddie Grant Stott, who backs The Festival and King's Theatre Emergency Support Fund, has stressed "we have to do what we can" to support our theatres as many face closure in the wake of the pandemic.

Mr Stott, who also appeared in season four of Outlander, called the Save A Seat For Sam fundraising total "incredible", and Outlander fans "remarkable" for making it happen. 

You can find out more about the Festival and King's Theatre Emergency Support fund here, and The Save A Seat For Sam campaign here.