Bestselling author Jeffrey Archer helped the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) raise around £11,500 for Muscle Dreams at the charity’s glittering annual auction.
The man behind books including Kane and Able turned auctioneer for the evening, persuading MHF’s supporters to bid on a sumptuous array of gifts and experiences.
The money raised will go towards funding Muscle Dreams – tailored, once in a lifetime experiences for children and young people with muscle wasting disease Muscular Dystrophy.
Guests at the event, held at London’s Royal Automobile Club (RAC) for the fifth time, jostled for lots including a personal training session with Richard Callender, the star of ITV1’s The Biggest Loser, and three bottles of Bollinger Champagne in limited edition gun silencer-style cases.
“Jeffrey Archer conducted the evening’s proceedings with great wit, insight and moments of brilliance in helping our family charity achieve a respectable outcome,” said Michael McGrath, MHF chief executive.
One particular highlight saw Archer step in to help Olivia, a beneficiary during MHF’s flagship Games Inspired Muscle Dream programme, who wanted to secure the prize to appear as a character in Ian Rankin’s next novel.
Olivia faced intense competition from another bidder, but a compromise was reached when Archer artfully spoke to Rankin on the phone and the Scottish novelist generously agreed to feature both Olivia and the other MHF guest in the book.
McGrath added: “Jeffrey’s comment to the odd RAC passerby was in my opinion sublime: “If you’ve got no money, don’t come in.” He was bang on message!”
Archer, who has raised more than £2m for charities through similar auctions, was won over by MHF’s mission.
In a posting on his website, the former Tory politician said: “If you’re looking for a charity to support, this one could do with your help, and I hope they ask me to be their auctioneer next year, because for me it was one of the happiest evenings of 2012.”