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Thousands for the promised ones

How much did your school make on its last PTA fundraising event? For some, pound;5.39 in loose change, a packet of Frazzles, and a second-class stamp would be a mighty haul. For others, anything less than a fat cheque for several grand would be a bitter disappointment. As George Orwell nearly said, all schools are equal but some are more equal than others.

First among equals must be the Camden school for girls, the voluntary-aided comprehensive and favoured bolthole for the female offspring of London's trendy intelligentsia. Among an audience of more than 200 parents, children and teachers at a promise auction last Friday, luminaries included Princess Diana's biographer Andrew Morton, Tony Blair's personal pollster Philip Gould (father of the school's headgirl) and director of the Tate Gallery Sir Nick Serota.

The resulting frenzy of conspicuous altruism saw Gould and Morton bidding each other up to pound;550 for a pair of opera tickets. A tour of sculptor Antony Gormley's new studio went for pound;170. But the bargain was a bag of peanuts for pound;28! Proceeds: pound;24,500.

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