Stars back charity auction

SOME of the world's biggest stars are putting their names behind a Suffolk charity event which is expected to raise thousands of pounds for cancer and multiple sclerosis victims.

SOME of the world's biggest stars are putting their names behind a Suffolk charity event which is expected to raise thousands of pounds for cancer and multiple sclerosis victims.

Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Simon Cowell and breast cancer victim Kylie Minogue are just some of the celebrities supporting a summer extravaganza ball at the home of renowned movie producer Austin Shaw - who recently worked on the blockbuster Phantom of the Opera - in Assington, near Sudbury.

Mr Shaw's wife Alison has organised the ball in honour of the couple's close friend Mick Reader, of Chelmsford, who died nine years ago, aged just 30, after a long battle against cancer.

Seeing her sister-in-law Fennella Murphy, who lives in Saxmundham, confined to a wheelchair after she was struck down with multiple sclerosis(MS) also inspired Mrs Shaw to organise the glitzy charity ball.


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Her husband has now used his network of contacts to persuade a number of global stars to donate prizes to be auctioned at the event, which is expected to raise up to £20,000 and will be split between Cancer Research and the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

"We came up with the idea for the ball after a very good friend of ours died of cancer. Mick Reader was 30 when he died after a long, tough illness. The cancer started in his leg and spread throughout his body. It was devastating to watch a fit, healthy, fun-loving person deteriorate, and to lose him was heartbreaking," said Mrs Shaw.

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"At around the same time my sister-in-law was diagnosed with MS. She is in permanent decline and is now in a wheelchair and unable to feed herself. Raising funds for these two charities is vital and we thought the idea of a ball was a good way to honour our friends."

Perhaps the most poignant donation is a signed CD from Kylie Minogue, who herself is currently fighting breast cancer.

Brad Pitt has donated a signed promotional poster from the hit movie Ocean's Eleven, featuring the actor and George Clooney, while David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have given signed football shirts, with new Premiership champions Chelsea donating a football signed by all the players.

Famous childrens' book illustrators David McKee and Quentin Blake have also donated some of their original pieces of artworks to be auctioned at the event.

Other prizes include breaks in New York and stays in some of London's top hotels including the Dorchester and the Connaught.

In addition to the grand charity auction the extravaganza will also feature a casino, a fire juggler, music from a string quartet and in true Hollywood style all ladies will be presented with a leaving goody bag.

The event, to be attended by 200 guests, takes place from 7.30pm on Saturday, June 25 and is by invitation only.

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