World comes to e-fundraiser

11th June 2004 at 01:00
Cash-strapped primary school hopes that eBay users across the globe will bid for the quirky lots in its offbeat internet auction, reports Stephen Lucas

A Hampshire primary is raising money by auctioning an archaeological dig for two, a flight over a Norwegian glacier and a 1930s trouser press on eBay.

John Keble school, Hursley, is using the auction website, where one wag once tried to sell his soul, to auction 21 offbeat lots. It aims to raise pound;15,000 towards a new computer suite and music room.

Other lots under the cyber hammer include a signed EastEnders script (the one where Alfie Moon romances Kat Slater), a stay in a pound;1,000-a-week luxury Moroccan villa where the crew of Oliver Stone's film Alexander the Great stayed while shooting in Essaouira and a 1940s dolls' house.

Cheryl Kalau, 38, whose son and daughter attend the school, organised the auction.

She said "I have been cold calling people and asking them to donate lots. I have been amazed by people's kindness. I have also put notices on EastEnders' fanclub sites in the US about the auction and I emailed the United Federation of Doll Collectors. I did try to find a trouser press fan site too, but was relieved that I didn't."

People have until June 12 to lodge bids online. There will also be a live auction in Hursley's IBM club tomorrow. (The IT company has its UK development laboratory near the village.) Those attending will have the opportunity to enter the bidding for these and 69 other lots up for grabs at the live auction. Mrs Kalau believes some of these will only be of local interest.

"As nice as the brownies are that a local woman makes here, I do not think they would appeal to people in America," she said.

"Another lot is a massage by one of the villagers, and I doubt people will come down from London for that."

The school has limited space with just four classrooms and a hall which is the venue for PE, drama, music and the library.

Matt O'Brien, head at the 100-pupil beacon school, said: "We hope to raise pound;15,000 to go towards our much-needed building project.

"We hope that by putting our auction online we will be able to reach as wide an audience as possible and bring in a whole new pool of bidders other than families and friends of the school."

Last year a former school complete with gymnasium and 13 classrooms in South Dakota was auctioned on eBay by Elm Valley school district.

Bids for the lots can be made at eBay and the school's website,


Some unusual lots that sold on eBay...

1. Margaret Thatcher's handbag, pound;103,000

2. Robbie Williams' bed, pound;15,400

3. Christina Aguilera's used bathwater and thong, pound;810

4. Piece of World Cup Rugby turf, pound;610

5. "Max the Mammoth" prehistoric skeleton, pound;61,000

And some that did not sell...

1. M4 Motorway, Aug 03

2. Elvis's tooth, June 03

3. Date with Jordan (no bids)

4. A trip with Richard Branson in his hot air balloon

5. Stay with a Peruvian rainforest tribe

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