TV’s Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip regular, auctioneer Charles Hanson is to broadcast a live charity online auction from his garden shed to help raise funds for Britain’s NHS heroes during the coronavirus outbreak.
Charles, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Like everyone else, I’ve been shocked by the impact this terrible illness has had on us all. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves. Our lives have been turned upside, the world is in turmoil and most of us are trapped in our own four walls. But at the forefront of it all, fighting to save lives every minute of every day, are our health service workers.
“Those of us in lockdown, the non-essential workers, are the lucky ones. We are not seeing the devastation on the frontline, the battle to steer chronically ill coronavirus victims back to health, nor do we have to witness loss of life on a daily basis.
“I wanted to do something to help and decided to stick with what I’m best at – auctioneering.”
Charles will take up the gavel on Friday, April 3 to host the live online auction from his shed in the garden of his Derbyshire home. He has kicked off donations with his own lot – two BBC Bargain Hunt golden gavels presented to him in 2004 and 2016, plus his own auction gavel, used to seal the deal on countless star lots for seven years.
“My man cave is finally coming into its own. I’ve been working flat out to get friends and celebrities from the antiques world to donate lots and hope to raise as much money as possible for the NHS. They need protective clothing, they need thermometers, they need tea and biscuits to get them through the day. Even if you’re stuck at home, you can do something positive to help.
Charles said he’s had an amazing response, with antiques experts Charlie Ross and Kate Bliss pledging support as have model Kelly Brook, actor Neil Morrissey and singer/actor Chesney Hawkes. Members of the public have also been in touch with generous donations, including the song lyrics to Robbie Williams’ Millennium signed by the singer, a House of Commons autograph book signed by David Cameron, Ed Balls and Fiona Bruce among many others, stunning jewellery and an Arsenal shirt.”
“I’m calling it The Golden Gavel NHS Charity Auction. All money raised will be donated to Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity which covers five hospitals operating in Derby, Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield. They have launched a Covid-19 appeal which anyone can donate to and I would urge people across the country to see what they can do to raise money for NHS charities on their patch.
“I think it’s the very least we can do in these troubling times and a great way to take our mind off our worries about our jobs, businesses and the future.”
Hansons salerooms in Derbyshire, Bishton Hall in Staffordshire and London went into lockdown on Monday, March 23 – just a few hours before prime minister Boris Johnson ordered a national shutdown.
Charles said: “I launched my business in 2005 and built it up from scratch from my bedroom, so it felt surreal to have to shut our auction centres. But health had to come first. Now my garden shed is my new saleroom.”
Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity welcomed Charles Hanson’s efforts to aid their cause. A spokesperson said: “Our NHS needs support now more than ever. Our charity wants to be able to provide each and every ward, clinic, minor injuries unit and accident and emergency centre with whatever they need to get them through the immense strain that the coronavirus is putting them under.
“Whether that is thermometers, new pillows for patients, tea and biscuits for the staff when they manage to get a break or support for staff who cannot get home and are worried about their own families and children whilst treating others, only through your support, can we make this possible.
“We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the community towards our hard-working NHS staff and cannot thank Hansons enough for thinking of us and supporting our NHS.”
The Golden Gavel NHS Charity Auction will run and be broadcast live through Hansons’ online bidding platform. There will be no bidding fees thanks to the generosity of service provider Bidpath, which has also donated two Derby County hospitality tickets to the charity auction.
During the pandemic, Charles will be doing Facebook live shows every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am and plans to showcase the NHS auction lots on Wednesday, April 1, from 11am.
He said: “I can’t wait to spread a little cheer, lift spirits and raise much-needed funds to benefit our hospitals, staff and patients.”
Register with www.hansonslive.co.uk to bid in The Golden Gavel NHS Charity Auction on April 3. The catalogue for the sale is due to go live April 1. To donate directly to Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity, visit: https://dbhc.org.uk/covid-19-appeal/. To find out more about the NHS auction, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.