Always wanted to have breakfast on the Great Wall of China? Watch Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden? Meet Ant and Dec? Now you can...
PUBLISHED: 12:48 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 07:36 30 March 2019
Gina Long MBE's charity auction, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, has an amazing array of lots to bid for this year. Now's your chance to live your dream...
Our writer Gina Long MBE has never been one to shirk from having ambitious aims.
“Eight years ago I wanted to do something that would capture the world’s attention by using the internet to reach a global audience,” she says.
“I hoped we might raise a great sum of money for charity. To raise more than £260,000 in my first online auction, which was at the time ‘the first online charity auction’ of its kind, was beyond my wildest dreams. To date the Ultimate Charity Auction has raised over £1,000,000 thanks to the 1,000 incredible prizes from generous prize donors and equally generous bidders.”
More than 40 years as a charity campaigner, fundraiser and philanthropist, Gina has so far helped raise an incredible £4.5 million for a host of national and local charities.
But the Ultimate Charity Auction Is her most ambitious fundraiser to date.
On paper, the concept is simple. Get a host of unbelievable prizes which make people think ‘I have always wanted to do that’ and then provide an auction on a platform that is both transparent and open to all.
In practice, the reality is very different. Gina might have a little black book of contacts that is the envy of all. But it takes a lot of late nights, multi-tasking, the much appreciated ‘thank-you’ cakes to produce an auction of this magnitude.
It is all achieved with a very small team, from her husband Andrew’s farm office on the outskirts of Bury St. Edmunds.
But the sheer scale of the auction is a credit to them.
Almost 100 prizes were listed on the launch day of this year’s Ultimate Charity Auction – and they were arguable the biggest and best prizes to date.
The auction runs until Thursday April 11 and star prizes include a chance to watch heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua fight at Madison Square Garden, enjoy breakfast on the Great Wall of China or bid on a host of luxury breaks, celebrity and sporting out of this world experiences.
Gina said: “We started the Ultimate Charity Auction eight years ago, initially to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
“The football world, especially, united in their support of Sir Bobby Robson’s incredible charity work and my first auction raised £263,000.
“Since then, we have helped a number of national and local charities but the ethos has remained the same – money-can’t-buy experiences, the unbelievable generosity of both donors and those bidding, and a transparent platform to ensure every penny raised makes a direct difference.”
This year, the Ultimate Charity Auction is supporting her partner the League Managers Association Charity – In The Game, helping Mental Health and Football in the Community and Gina’s own GeeWizz, which provides specialist equipment to children and young adults up to the age of 21, living in Suffolk and Norfolk, with life-threatening conditions, disability or cancer.
Other outstanding prizes include a behind-the-scenes tour of Tottenham’s new 63,000-capacity stadium, the chance to watch FC Barcelona train and play at the famous Camp Nou stadium and the opportunity to own an extremely rare ‘only one in the world’, framed Artist Proof photograph of ‘Nowhere Man’ by Bury St Edmunds-based internationally renowned photographer Tom Murray, from the Beatles Mad Day Out in 1968.
Alan Brazil and Chris Evans are even inviting you to join them on their Breakfast shows on TalkSPORT and Virgin Radio.
There are 10 unique prizes from Ed Sheeran, from his personal collection too. You can own one of one “Ed Sheeran Large Proportions” paintings - it has been signed by the superstar himself and was created for Ed by internationally acclaimed artist Adam Klodzinski, an urban street artist also known as ‘SOAP’.
Support from local companies has once again been outstanding. Adnams Brewer’s House in Southwold and The Windmill Suffolk have both donated luxury weekend breaks to support the auction while Ipswich Town have fittingly donated a VIP matchday hospitality package for 10 guests in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite Hospitality and a chance for a young fan to be a mascot for the day.
As always, it promises to make for compulsive viewing as well as making a big difference to the lives of Emily and others.
To view this year’s auction lots, register and place your bids, please visit www.charitystars.com/ultimatecharityauction.