Celebrity Griff Rhys Jones starts quirky auction to help Ipswich children’s hospice
The Suffolk comedian is selling off unusual items donated by celebrity friends including Ant and Dec, Ralph Fiennes and Tom Hollander.
Comedian Griff Rhys Jones has enlisted his network of celebrity friends to help raise vital funds for an Ipswich children’s hospice - with David Walliams, David Tennant and Joanna Lumley among those lending support.
After 40 years in comedy, television and radio, the Suffolk resident has built a web of contacts across showbusiness.
So with East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) - which runs The Treehouse in Ipswich - facing an “extremely challenging and uncertain” year during coronavirus, he has rallied top stars to donate castaway items for a festive auction to raise crucial cash.
So far, he has managed to get hold of exclusive copies of Walliams’ book written for Simon Cowell’s son, a special £10 note created for Doctor Who belonging to Tennant and a one of a kind film camera coffin made in Ghana.
And he promises items from stars such as Alexander Armstrong, Ant and Dec, Ian Hislop, Joanna Lumley, Matt Lucas, Ralph Fiennes and Tom Hollander - to name just a few.
The week-long Celebrity Bottom Drawer - due to start on November 27 and hosted by online auction experts Bid In - is in place of Griff’s usual annual Christmas show at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre, which cannot go ahead this year due to Covid-19.
In a personal letter, Griff said: “Last year we did a great show called Happy Christmas Ipswich at the Regent. A lot of good friends and great performers like Lee Mack, Rick Wakeman and Al Murray had a ball and raised over £70,000.
“We can’t do a show this year, for reasons I won’t bore you with because you know already. But we still need money.
“I have been to the children’s hospice in Ipswich myself several times and I have never been so moved.
“It is a place that is about life, not death. It is there to give joy. Not just to enable kids to get the best out their time, but to support their mothers and fathers.
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“These are people who may have had to entirely alter their lives, their hopes and their ambitions because of their love and sacrifice.
“For some parents just a single weekend of hospice care can be a beacon of hope.
“But it costs. The money this vital service needs, which is largely unsupported by government, has been hit grotesquely hard this year.”
Alongside some quirky personal items will be mementos from favourite shows and films such as Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, James Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Go Group will give a free platinum delivery service straight to people’s doors for items sold.
Becky Redbond, EACH events fundraising manager, said: “This year has been extremely challenging and uncertain as we experienced a hugely significant drop in voluntary income, with shops being closed and fundraising events cancelled.
“We met our first challenge of surviving the initial drop and supporting families to protect themselves at home.
“However, with the prospect of the organisation and our supporters being unable to resume key fundraising activities, and without additional government support to that we’ve already received, our financial challenge for the future will be huge.
“If we’re to meet the cost and increasing need for delivering our specialist care – we are now receiving an increased number of requests for support as families become exhausted from providing care on their own - we need public and government support now more than ever before.
“That’s why we can’t thank Griff enough for continuing to spearhead and raise money for our cause this Christmas. Celebrity Bottom Drawer is an exciting idea and it’s amazing to see all the things celebs are finding.
“Thanks also to Bid In for their work on this. They are giving their services free of charge, meaning every pound spent will help hundreds of vulnerable children and their families going through probably the toughest period of their lives.”
For more information and to start looking at lots announced so far, visit www.CelebrityBottomDrawer.com
Anyone who feels they already have enough items around the house will be able to ‘bid for nothing’ and make donations straight to EACH.
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