WATCH: ‘I was in a stupor’ - Griff Rhys Jones on incredible success of his celebrity auction for Ipswich hospice
Griff Rhys Jones said he was in a “stupor” as he watched the rocketing success of his online Celebrity Bottom Drawer auction to raise money for Ipswich’s Treehouse children’s hospice.
In an exclusive Zoom interview, the comedian - who lives in Suffolk - said he waited with trepidation to see how successful the sell-off of items from celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and countless others would be.
Yet within its first hour online, £10,000 had already been raised for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) as hopefuls bidded on 200 lots up for grabs, ranging from Dawn French’s Rolex watch to Sir Paul McCartney’s microphone and Tom Hollander’s red underpants.
“The day went on, and I went to bed in an absolute sort of stupor, because just before I went to bed we had £40,000 of bids made,” Griff told journalist Neil Didsbury during the interview.
More money has poured in and extra items are set to be added to the auction in the coming days, as celebrities watch its growing success and are keen to donate and get in on the action.
Yet it is hoped thousands more will be raised as people get their final bids in before the auction ends on Sunday, December 6.
Griff - who rose to fame on Not The Nine O’Clock News - decided to enlist his network of famous friends to help with auction in place of his annual Christmas show at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre, which cannot go ahead this year due to Covid-19.
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During the interview, he talked of how EACH’s vital work costs money - but that the charity has struggled to raise funds this year, because of the restrictions of the pandemic.
While he said many of items for sale were “prestigious”, Griff said: “I wish we were selling tranches of land in Argentina or somewhere like that, because we’d make a lot more money!”
However, he said the idea of the auction is also to “remind everybody that the hospices, which do a fantastic job for East Anglia, really need support”.
He spoke of how it “broke his heart” to see the families using the service, but praised how EACH gives “absolutely direct support” to those in need.
“We mustn’t forget them, in this very difficult year, because they need our help more than ever,” he said.
Celebrity Bottom Drawer is sponsored by software company Citrix and is hosted for free by online auction experts Bid In.
Go Group is giving a free platinum delivery service straight to people’s doors.
Lots can be viewed at www.celebritybottomdrawer.com
Griff also encouraged to ‘bid for nothing’ and donate straight to EACH, as well as choose to donate their losing bids to the charity.
Watch the full video interview with Griff on this page.