How Ed Sheeran legacy auction will change lives
- Credit: Courtesy Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction
Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction co-ordinator Olivia Churchill explores how the thousands of pounds raised will benefit young people across East Anglia for years to come.
Last Sunday saw the close of the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction, which raised an incredible £406,000, plus an additional £100,000 donation from local businessman and philanthropist, Guy Nicholls of Tru7 Group. Having been involved from day one, the journey we have been on has been an extraordinary one, to say the least, with no two days the same, during a global pandemic and working from a small farm office in Suffolk.
At GeeWizz and on behalf of our co-beneficiary Zest, part of St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, we are over the moon and delighted that funding is secured thanks to our legacy auction, which will deliver two life-changing legacy projects for children and young people, across East Anglia, with disabilities and life-limiting illness.
Organised by Gina Long MBE, working closely with Ed’s parents John and Imogen Sheeran and our small team, the auction featured more than 220 highly collectable items of memorabilia, artworks and experiences, attracting bids from around the world.
GeeWizz will fund the redevelopment of a playground at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy in Ipswich.
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“The words thank you, in realising our wildest dreams, seem so inadequate in light of the generosity and hard work of all involved, especially Gina Long and her small team,” says headteacher Helen McDougall. “From the moment she visited the school, she wanted to support us and our fundraising for our much-needed playground, as did John and Imogen Sheeran.
“At Thomas Wolsey we learn by doing and by being outdoors,” continues Helen. “To say that we are all so excited about the plans to redevelop our playground is putting it mildly. To tru7 Group, Guy Nicholls for his incredible donation of £100,000, thank you. Never before has it been more important for our pupils to learn and to play safely outdoors. We can’t wait for the groundworks to start in the summer of 2021 and to see our much-needed new playground become a reality. There is no doubt whatsoever, that without Gina walking through our doors last year, our new playground would remain a pipe dream.”
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Speaking on behalf of Zest, Helen Finlinson, young adult care and transition lead, says: “We are incredibly grateful to Gina Long, for being the formidable driving force behind the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction along with John and Imogen Sheeran, especially, knowing how many hours, late nights and early starts they and the team have put into the auction, to make it such a roaring success. I have never seen anything of this scale, especially not locally. It’s a terrific boost for the young adults who are supported by Zest, as well as their families, our volunteers and staff, especially in an extremely challenging year, such as 2020.”
John Sheeran, Ed’s father, adds: “The total raised is way beyond our expectations and we are so pleased that it will create important lasting legacies to improve the quality of care and wellbeing for children and young adults across Suffolk and beyond. Imogen and I would like to thank Gina, and everyone who generously donated lots, joined in the bidding, and organised and supported the auction. We cannot think of a better legacy for the exhibition to leave.”
Here are the top 10 highest bidding lots, out of over 220, which will fund delivery of two vital legacy projects which will change many lives.
1. Lot 216: Ed Sheeran Dab 2 painting
2. Lot 100: Ed Sheeran handwritten and signed lyrics to Perfect
3. Lot 181: Ben Mosley – Ed & the Castle, signed by Ed Sheeran
4. Lot 199: Damien Hirst – Limited Edition signed print Patience
5. Lot 196: Richard Curtis – original page of Love Actually script
6. Lot 150: Colin Davidson – Conté Crayon portrait of Ed Sheeran
7. Lot 99: Mereway Kitchens – bespoke kitchen furniture
8. Lot 170: Signed Ed Sheeran Signature Edition Martin Guitar
9. Lot 1: Handbill and ticket (entry £3) for Ed Sheeran’s first public gig
10, Lot 89: Personal SMART garden office