VIDEO: Griff Rhys Jones on why he’s launched an auction to support a hospice
PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 October 2020
An actor has spoken of the moving experience of meeting the parents of hospice children as he gets help from his celebrity friends to raise cash for the charity.
Comedian Griff Rhys Jones, who lives in Suffolk, will auction off a range of unusual items donated by his showbiz pals to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Last year his Christmas show at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre raised more than £70,000 for the charity, and this year EACH is in greater need due to the financial challenges brought by coronavirus.
The week-long Celebrity Bottom Drawer online auction has 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.
MORE: Celebrity Griff Rhys Jones starts quirky auction to help Ipswich children’s hospice
Quirky pieces include a ‘camera coffin’ made for Griff in Ghana, that he says he has no intention on using, and a pair of red underpants from Tom Hollander’s “iconic” scene in The Loop.
Griff, made famous by his comedy sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News, has been to EACH’s Treehouse in Ipswich several times.
He said: “The most moving part of it for me has been meeting parents. To meet mums and dads who have ambitions for their lives and they have had to put them on hold.
“And they have put them on hold because they are such good people and have so much love for their child.
“To have a child that needs care every three hours or two hours in their sometimes very short life is a pretty big demand to make of a human being. That’s where the hospice steps in to help them.”
He said instead of being frightening, hospices were “joyful” places where families could make the most of their time together.
MORE: ‘It’s reduced me to tears’: Griff Rhys Jones on heartbreak of seeing families at children’s hospice
Phil Gormley, chief executive of EACH, said fundraising from the auction was “critically important” for the charity, which has taken a large financial hit by losing fundraising events due to the pandemic.
Over the next 12 months, the charity is predicting a £1.7million deficit of income over expenditure, Mr Gormley said.
He said: “The generosity of Griff to put this on and mobilise his friends and colleagues to support us is just extraordinary and we are so grateful for what he is doing for us.”
MORE: Griff Rhys Jones praises ‘remarkable’ work of ‘vital’ children’s charity
He added: “We are in a very difficult place and we have had to think very carefully about the support of care we deliver and we have continued to support families throughout this desperately difficult time for them.
“We have continued to give end of life care at the hospices and support people more and more in their homes as that’s where they want to be with their children...and we are delivering lots of therapies online.”
He said there would be a small number of redundancies at EACH, which has three hospices, as they look to make sure they are “applying the money people are giving to us in a very effective way”.
Celebrity Bottom Drawer is due to start on November 27 and will be hosted by online auction experts Bid In.
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