Bid for top riders in silent auction

  • The Anthony Nolan Trust – a charity which registers blood stem cell donors – has launched its annual silent auction providing equestrian enthusiasts with the opportunity to bid for a trip of a lifetime or the chance to spend time with some of the sport’s biggest names.

    The silent auction, which is the brainchild of area manager George Walker and his wife Jenny, is in its second year, following a hugely successful launch in 2003. Opportunities to spend a week with equestrian sporting heroes, such as Michael Whitaker and Tim Stockdale, raised £6,000 for the charity last year.

    This year’s auction has a wide array of equestrian talent to offer. Enthusiasts can bid to spend a week under the wing of Di Lampard and experience a taste of top international show jumping.

    Mr Ian Stark OBE, three times winner of Badminton and the only rider to be first and second in the same year, will be providing entertainment for eventing enthusiasts, while Ferdi Elberg is opening the doors to his top class dressage stables. World-class carriage driving guru Georgina Frith will be spending a week with one of the successful bidders.

    Apart from these mainstream equestrian experiences, the trust has gathered together a variety of alternative equestrian experiences, including:

    • carriage driving with a difference, spending a week with the Chariots of Fire Display Team
    • heavy horse driving with the Coors Shire Horses
    • a day with the Strathclyde Police horses
    • family membership (two adults and two children) for all five days of the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead (21-25 July).

    Pride of place, however, goes to the unique opportunity to spend the day with the King’s Troop including riding out with the Household Cavalry in Hyde Park, lunch with the troops, a tour of the stables and the chance to inspect the Queen’s Life Guard.

    George Walker from the Anthony Nolan Trust explains: “We thought it would be a really nice idea if we could get our four-legged friends to help out our two-legged friends. Everyone was delighted to offer up weeks of their time, and it just seems like a really fun initiative.

    “It’s a great way of raising the profile of the trust in different spheres”, he continues. “Not only are we in desperate need of funds to test tissue type, but we are also desperately short of bone marrow donors. We are extremely optimistic that we can change that in the very near future.”

    The Anthony Nolan Trust was established 30 years ago and manages the world’s first, and one of the largest, fully independent register of potential blood stem cell donors. Each year thousands die when fatal bone marrow diseases reach a stage where the only hope of survival is a blood stem transplant.

    To bid online, visit: www.silentauction.org.uk. For more information and to make a telephone bid, call (tel: 01467 629468). Bids close at midnight 31 March 2004.

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