Last week my auctioneering skills were called upon once again by American music producer David Gest, who was holding a charity dinner and concert at the Tower Bridge Hilton hotel in London.
There was a champagne reception and silent auction before the main event, where guests could register their bids for an array of signed movie and music memorabilia.
James was a great sport and kindly obliged when Toni asked him to record a personal video birthday message for Ben
Guests included Hollyoaks actresses Jorgie Porter and Nicole Barber-Lane, Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh and McBusted singer-songwriter James Bourne.
I have to confess I watch very little television so wouldn’t recognise many of the celebrities. However, my 16 and 26-year-old daughters Lena and Toni, who love all of the ‘soaps’, accompanied my wife and I so I had my own spotters.
Toni’s close friend Ben, hair stylist to the whole Cameron family, is a massive McBusted fan and has tickets to see them in concert for his forthcoming 30th birthday.
James was a great sport and kindly obliged when Toni asked him to record a personal video birthday message for Ben, who is now indebted to her and must style hair for free, for life!
Proceeds from the auctions and raffle were donated to the Me&Dee charity, of which David is a huge supporter.
The charity, which funds special breaks and holidays for people with life-limiting illnesses, was founded by Maria Hanson MBE following the death of her cousin Delia, who lost her battle with cancer in 2005.
Maria, herself disabled, was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Years Honours List for her work since the charity was founded over eight years ago.
My wife donated a diamond necklace as the raffle prize that, with Kym Marsh going table-to-table selling raffle tickets, raised over £1,700.
In addition to selling the tickets, she joined David and I on stage for the live auction before opening the music with a solo singing performance.
I also had to ‘sing for my supper’ with the live auction, where signed music memorabilia from the Beatles and Michael Jackson was on offer in addition to some totally David Gest-type experiences including a trip to the home of Elvis, Gracelands in Memphis, with VIP tours of all the major recording studios in the city.
At the end of the evening my wife and I met the young lady who had won the diamond pendant. She was there with her father.
It was only afterwards my wife told me it was actor Mark Lester, godfather to Michael Jackson’s children, who also played Oliver Twist in the 1969 hit film.
Antiques expert John appears on TV shows including Cash In The Attic and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and also runs Nesbits auction house in Southsea. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9229 5568