A 6ft metal elephant and Adam Lallana

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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As winter draws near, charity auctions come thick and fast.

Last weekend it was a flight to Manchester and the Hilton Deansgate Hotel for the annual Star Ball in aid of Variety The Children’s Charity and the Hilton In The Community Foundation.

On arrival the guests were treated to a circus show followed by a percussion and dance troupe dressed as corpses for a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

After dinner, the multi-talented singing impressionist Darren Day took to the stage.

Deputy chairman of the Hilton In The Community Foundation, Dame Maureen Thomas, was on hand to ‘bang the hammer’ for me as I took to the stage to sell the seven auction lots.

The most interesting one was a 6ft metal elephant sculpture by Pangea.

Handmade in Kenya from recycled metal, the piece was on show in the hotel foyer.

I’m sure plenty of charity auction-goers have woken the following morning slightly worse for wear only to remember spending a large sum of money on a signed shirt or tickets to a sporting event.

But imagine opening your eyes to remember spending £4,000 on a six-foot metal elephant!

An electric guitar played and signed by 1D’s Harry Styles was also on offer and was knocked down for £2,100.

The final figure raised was £64,000 to be split between the two charities.

If that wasn’t sweet enough, we bumped into Adam Lalana at the airport, fresh from scoring in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over WBA the previous day and on the same flight as us back to Southampton.

My friend Chas took great pleasure reminding him of how he had celebrated right in front of the travelling Pompey fans when Southampton went 1-0 up during the 2010 FA Cup tie, only to lose 4-1!