The chance to spend a day on a film set with Emma Thompson is among the incredible lots on offer for our second Christmas charity appeal auction.
The Oscar-winning actress has offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join her behind the scenes as she shoots her latest film Last Christmas in London.
Another lot for the auction, which launched on Friday, includes a luxury trip to spot big game at Richard Branson’s personal safari camp in Western Kenya.
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Readers can bid for premium tickets and a rare behind-the-scenes experience with the West End cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock the Musical, or on tickets to Alexandra Burke’s new musical, The Bodyguard, which include a chance to meet the singer.tori
A sought-after set of prime tickets to Sir Elton John‘s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour are also up for grabs, with a signed portrait of the singer by photographer Andy Gotts.
One lucky reader will also get to upgrade their New Year’s Eve plans and book out a genuine GBP2 million 19th-century castle in Kent for their celebrations, which comes complete with a media room, turrets, a roaring fireplace and dining room lined with swan feathers.
Other lots include a dream gift for any football fan - an England football shirt signed by Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling.
Proceeds from the auction will go to our AIDSfree appeal, which is run in conjunction with the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The campaign aims to get all of those with HIV on treatment, and eventually create an Aids-free future.
It will support projects in London, Nairobi, Atlanta, Kiev, Delhi and Maputo.
Medicines can now enable those living with HIV to have full and fulfilling lives, and also ensure they cannot pass on the virus.
Through UK Aid Match, the UK government will double public donations up to GBP2m.
Our auction is powered by Givergy, an award-winning fundraising technology company which offers a range of cutting-edge platforms to help charities make more money at events and online.
You can make your bids using the links at the end of each lot or at the bottom of this article.
The auction ends on Friday 21 December at 10pm.
Day on set with Emma Thompson
She is a British treasure and a Hollywood grandee, and now Emma Thompson has donated her time to help raise money for our appeal. The star has offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join her on set as she shoots her latest film Last Christmas in London. The lucky winning bidder will get to spend time behind-the-scenes with the star - and maybe even ask for a piece of acting advice.
Stay at Richard Branson’s safari camp in Kenya
For one long weekend, one lucky bidder can holiday like a billionaire. Richard Branson frequently visits his personal 12-tent safari camp in Western Kenya, Mahali Mzuri, located in the Motorogi Conservancy with 13,500 hectares of bush to explore along with the neighbouring Olare Orok Conservancy.
The stunning retreat is set against the backdrop of a valley and sprawling plains as far as the eye can see, and the winner of this extraordinary lot will experience exciting game drives with experienced guides, delicious meals, a cosy and relaxing atmosphere at the camp in a uniquely designed, spacious and luxurious tent. The three-night package is inclusive of all food, drink and daily game drives.
Meet Alexandra Burke at The BodyGuard: The Musical
Three-time Brit nominee and X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has created a smash hit in the West End with The BodyGuard: The Musical, and she is now offering one reader the chance to bag tickets. The highest bidder can also meet the star and her cast members backstage post-show.
Private dinner at Annabel’s
Annabel’s in Mayfair, where royalty has mingled with A-Listers since 1963, is offering a rare chance to entertain a group of 12 guests in a boutique private room inside its recently opened new location - a Grade I-listed Georgian mansion house in Berkeley Square. The package, to be used by April 2019, comes complete with a selection of the best wines and champagnes from the club’s chief sommelier. Dress codes apply.
Spend New Year’s Eve in a castle
The stunning Hadlow Castle in Tonbridge, Kent, was built in 1838 and restored after the Second World War. One lucky reader will get to book out the castle for their New Year’s Eve celebrations and invite friends to a location complete with media room, a lift, and a dining room lined with swan feathers. The unique drawing room boasts a 12ft high ceiling, huge roaring fireplace and a spear-lined wall.
School of Rock musical experience
Readers can bid for premium tickets and a rare behind-the-scenes experience with the West End cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock the Musical, a show based on the heartwarming hit movie. The one-off VIP experience includes four premium seats, complimentary refreshments and a post-show meet and greet with members of the cast. The lucky winner will also get to take home two signed copies of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography, Unmasked. Tickets valid until February 2019, not including the week commencing 18 February 2019.
Powerful portrait from Carol Allen-Story
Acclaimed photojournalist Carol Allen-Story spent time in Uganda in 2014 capturing intimate portraits of teens born with Aids, illuminating their challenges of loneliness and poverty. Amidst their struggle, heroic stories of hope emerged, and the photojournalist said she was humbled by their courage. She has donated a Giclee limited edition print featuring Macleen, 12, from Nyamwamba, Uganda, who has faced discrimination for being HIV-positive.
She said: “Their voices need to be heard, lest we forget that Aids continues to be a plague that needs support.”
The best books of 2018 selected by the ES literary critic
An ideal Christmas present for a bookworm would be a box of this year’s best books, curated by the Evening Standard books department.
The hamper will include crime thrillers by Lee Child and Ian Rankin, a history of Europe by Simon Jenkins, Michael Lewis’s thrilling account of how Trump came into power, Jan Morris’s diaries, Michael Palin’s reimagined travels on HMS Erebus and speeches of note compiled by Shaun Usher, as well as a selection of children’s titles.
Tickets to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour - and a signed portrait from photographer Andy Gotts
A perfect gift for any Sir Elton John fan: a one-off limited-edition photograph signed by Sir Elton, and two tickets to the singer’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The print is by famed celebrity photographer Andy Gotts, who has, in his unmistakable style, photographed Sir Elton for a black-and-white fine art print. The premium tickets can be used at any of the remaining farewell tour dates around the world.
Stunning Christmas presents: A Bulgari clutch bag and a Mulberry bag
If a loved one is a fashion fan, one of these could make her smile on 25 December. For a bit of glamour, readers can bid on a gorgeous Serpenti Tubogas Bulgari cocktail clutch made from gold galuchat skin and golden calf leather. To please a more traditional stylish eye, readers can bid for designer favourite Mulberry offering, the Abbey - a traditional leather bucket bag with drawstrings.
Personalised designer bag from Sophie Hulme
One of London’s top handbag designers has invited a single bidder to join her in creating a wearable work of art from her studio.
Sophie Hulme and her resident hand painting artist Mark MacDonald will consult with the winner and create a personalised motif to add to a signature Albion family bag.
This could be anything from an intricate Snoopy character (the designer’s favourite) to a set of memorable initials. Prize can be redeemed until June 2019.
Styles available for hand painting are: The Mini Albion, The Square Albion, The Large Swing, The Swing, The Nano Swing or the Knot Shoulder bag.
Spend a day in The Independent newsroom
Spend a day in The Independent newsroom, joining editor Christian Broughton and the team in our London HQ. Learning how the world of journalism works, you’ll sit in on editorial conference and watch the news agenda develop as the day progresses and deadlines loom. For one person, date to be arranged.
Take home a signed England shirt
A rare original England football shirt signed by current team stars including Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Dele Alli, is up for grabs to the highest bidder. Note: this prize may be posted in the New Year.
Gift a Riedel wine experience and bespoke decanter
Wine lovers can be tricky to buy for, but this is the perfect lot for any vino expert, combining a rare experience and a high-end product. A pair of tickets to a post-Christmas tutored comparative tasting with famed sommelier Maximilian Riedel at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls and an Ayam Magnum Decanter. The signature piece, mouthblown and handcrafted in Kufstein, Austria, offers a double decanting function.
Take home a signed Manchester City shirt
One bidder can take home a Manchester City home shirt signed by England star Fabian Delph. The shirt, kindly donated by the club, comes with a certificate of authenticity. Note: this prize may be posted in the New Year.
Tickets to Saracens game - and signed rugby ball
Boxing Day fun will be sorted for one rugby fan on being gifted a rugby ball signed by the Saracens squad, along with prized tickets to the team’s game against Glasgow in the Champions Cup on 19 January.
An ‘Iris’ print by Marc Quinn
Marc Quinn specially created a stunning Iris print with a hand-painted frame for the Grey Goose Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 2011. This limited edition, numbered 20 of 100 and signed, comes in a unique, hand-painted frame.
A historic print from Gary Hume
On World Aids Day in 2010, The Independent carried a powerful image. Guest edited by Sir Elton John, the paper led with a piece of art by British painter, Gary Hume, designed to speak of the transience of life which the deadly Aids pandemic underscores. One reader can take home a limited edition, framed Giclee print of the work, measuring 360mm x 290mm.
Cutler & Gross spectacles
The British eyewear label made famous by Sir Elton John is offering one reader the chance to change their look for the new year. Cutler & Gross will kit a bidder out in the latest pair of their glasses, following a bespoke consultation and fitting from a senior stylist.
Luxury stay in a suite at the Corinthia
Corinthia London is one of the capital’s most exclusive hotels. Visited by the world’s elite, it combines contemporary flair with traditional London grandeur. An overnight stay in a luxurious suite, along with breakfast at its elegant restaurant, would put visitors in their stead to enjoy Westminster, Covent Garden and the Thames, all a stone’s throw away.
Squeeze tickets at the Royal Albert Hall
Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriting duo Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, aka Squeeze, will return to the Royal Albert Hall next autumn. One reader can bag top seats and a meet and greet with the legendary South London musicians through our Christmas appeal auction. The package includes a pre-signed set list from the show, a limited edition bespoke A3 tour lithograph, an exclusive VIP tour gift, Squeeze VIP 2019 Tote bag and a VIP tour laminate and lanyard.
A Tateossian Black and White Diamond Pill Pin, Bracelet and Cufflinks Set (retails GBP7,600)
Diamonds are forever - or for Christmas. Tateossian have donated a unique bejewelled set, retailing at GBP7,600. The set was created to honour the 25th anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It features a pin with a diamond pill and luxurious surface of micro pave single-cut black and white diamonds set in silver, with an 18 karat gold band around the middle. The pill represents PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and commemorates how one pill taken each day can manage the spread of HIV, change lives and help make the world AIDSfree. The cufflinks included also feature a hidden compartment, revealed when you twist open half of the pill, with signatures inside from Sir Elton, David Furnish and Robert Tateossian inside.
Remember, the auction closes on Friday 21 December at 10pm
You can bid on these auction lots at www.givergy.com/charity/aidsfree
Money raised from public donations through the AIDSfree appeal will be used to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation projects in six key cities around the world (London, Nairobi, Atlanta, Kiev, Delhi and Maputo). Through UK Aid Match the UK government will double public donations up to GBP2m to be spent across projects in Maputo and Nairobi.