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Blind Foundation Charity Auction Raises Over $100k

Sir Richard Hadlee was happy to go into bat for the Blind Foundation at its charity auction on Tuesday evening when he personally held up a cricket bat from his Classic Collection and inspired one fan to part with over $4000.

The Sir Richard Hadlee cricket bat was one of 60 items that contributed to raising over $101,000 at the Blind Foundation's Braille Week auction at Auckland's Carlton Hotel, attended by a record 500 guests. On the bat is a colour head and shoulders portrait of New Zealand's greatest ever cricketer, plus a colour action photo and Sir Richard's test statistics.

Paul Webb of Auckland, a cricket lover who paid $4,250 for the bat that will hang on his office wall, says it's fantastic to have such a rare item. "It was great to meet Sir Richard and I was very pleased to be able to support such a good cause," says Paul.

Also getting into the spirit of the evening was Master of Ceremonies TV3's John Campbell, who was not going to be out done by Paul Holmes' auction donation of an evening for one to observe Paul and his team put the Holmes show together, which raised $300.

John's on-the-night offer for a group of four to watch the production of 3News and tour the TV3 studios, including Carol Hirschfield's dressing room, raised $930.000 and plenty of laughter!

While there were 58 items in the auction catalogue (raising $97,000), several more were created thanks to the BNZ who pledged another $1000 to the Foundation if they could raise another $2000 from the floor to achieve $100,000.

A word to auctioneer Michael Williams and the audience from Blind Foundation Chief Executive Jane Holden got the ball rolling, with AMP Investments donating two seats to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Wellington in March 2000 and Air New Zealand offering return airfares.

They were just what auction veteran Nico Wamsteker of Monaco Corporation was after and he happily bid for the opportunity, along with successfully bidding for the right to name a guide dog - to be called Tosh.

The $100,000 target was surpassed thanks to AMP, Air New Zealand, a donation from Craig Griffin and Lord, and Henry Norcross of Norcross Printing's offer of $1000 worth of printing, purchased for $1,350.00 from Julian Reynolds of Saks. Saks, with Merino New Zealand had already donated a made-to-measure Brioni suit. The Italian made suit, which fetched $4000, will be made from fabric woven by the world's top fabric manufacturers Loro Piana, who have used the finest Merino wool ever produced in New Zealand. The fabric is one of only three lengths available in the world. President Clinton has one length, and Chinese President Jiang Zemin, the other.

"This is the second largest amount we've raised from the auction since it began seven years ago. The generosity of guests and the dozens of companies who donated products and services to make the evening a success, was outstanding," says Blind Foundation Chief Executive Jane Holden.

This week is Braille Week and the Blind Foundation is hoping to raise $1.2 million to assist it to provide services to its 12,500- plus members.


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