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Headcollar worn by Newmarket-trained racehorse Enable leads top bids in Celebrity Bottom Drawer auction for East Anglia's Children's Hospices



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A headcollar worn by a Newmarket-trained racehorse is currently the best-performing lot in an online auction raising money for children's hospices in East Anglia.

The Celebrity Bottom Drawer auction, organised by Suffolk resident and comedian Griff Rhys Jones for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), went live on Friday, November 27 and since then has raised more than £60,000 for the cause.

Of all the lots – from numerous celebrities including Ed Sheeran, Cate Blanchett, David Walliams, Ant and Dec, and Dame Judi Dench – the item with the highest bids so far is legendary racehorse Enable's headcollar, with a top bid of £8,500. It's received 33 bids so far.

Enable with Frankie Dettori winning The Unibet September Stakes. Photo: Hugh Routledge
Enable with Frankie Dettori winning The Unibet September Stakes. Photo: Hugh Routledge

The headcollar worn by Enable, 11-time Group 1 winner, is also signed by her trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori.

Also performing well are Dawn French's Rolex watch at £4,200, a Bronze bust of Mel Smith, from the estate of Mel Smith at £4,000 and Cate Blanchett’s deluxe box of ‘Carol’ film goodies at £2,000.

Bidding on the Celebrity Bottom Drawer auction is open for a few more days – it closes at 10pm on Sunday.

Griff Rhys Jones with a bust of Mel Jones which is among the items donated to the auction. Picture: EACH
Griff Rhys Jones with a bust of Mel Jones which is among the items donated to the auction. Picture: EACH

The auction marks the fourth Christmas running that Mr Rhys Jones has support EACH – which has The Treehouse hospice in Ipswich.

Mr Rhys Jones said EACH has been hit 'grotesquely' hard this year. Like most charities, it has been unable to hold most of its usual fundraising events in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An EACH spokesman said the charity has 'never been more in need of fundraising support' – having forecast, prior to the second lockdown, a loss of £1.7m in funding over the next 12 months.

That works out to almost a third of the total it needs to support families across East Anglia. It also lost a further £100,000 a week in retail income while its shops were shut in the second lockdown.

“We can’t as easily do the sponsored stuff. The church halls are shut. The shops have been closed," Mr Rhys Jones added.

"So I’ve put the word out and we’ve started our own charity second-hand site that has only celebrity cast-offs.

"If you’re searching for a Christmas present for a granny who’s nuts about Game of Thrones or an uncle who always does his Mick Jagger impression, we have unique authenticated GOT and Stones items for you.

"You have to go on the website to have a look and choose a Christmas memento for someone you know. There’s a good chance one of your favourite stars or shows will be there.”

EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and supports their families.

Mr Rhys Jones said he 'never been so overwhelmed' as he was when he met parents and children at EACH's The Treehouse hospice in Ipswich.

"It’s a place that buys precious time for people who really need it," he added.

"Don’t be afraid. A hospice is not about death. It is about making the very most out of life and joy.

"If we can all get behind this auction, we can really help.”

Mr Rhys Jones added: "What we’ll give is a tiny thing for a huge and vital service."

Anyone who is not interested in bidding in any of the items, but would like to support EACH, can 'bid for nothing' and make a donation to EACH.

For more information, or to place a bid, visit the auction site at celebritybottomdrawer.com.

To find out more about EACH, go to www.each.org.uk.

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