Photo credit: Fedor Toschev

London, 13 January  - The Gift of Life auction brought footballers, models, newspaper proprietors and even smartly dressed children together in the fabulous surroundings of the Wallace Collection in central London to celebrate Russian New Year and raise funds for children with cancer throughout Russia. I was amazed when four tickets to watch Arsenal play Manchester City made £60,000;  perhaps Arsenal captain Andrey Arshavin’s box has even better catering than the delicious food we were being served!  A bidding war erupted between Natalia Vodyanova and Evgeny Lebedev for the chance to see a production at the Theatre of Nations in Moscow – in the end they paid £30,000 each to share the trip. A beautiful pair of Shaun Leane earrings sold for £20,000, and as a finale to the auction dozens of generous sponsors pledged individually to support children in Russia who need the life-saving drugs that Podari Zhizn (Gift of Life) supply, with Cholpan and Kairat Boranbaev, and the supportive sponsors from Troika Dialog, digging particularly deep.  We raised over £300,000 on the evening, which finished with Georgian jazz performed by Nino Katamadze and Insight (who had travelled over especially to play free of charge), while a small quantity of vodka was being drunk, but I can’t remember much that went on after that…


Above image: Yulia Arshavin, Chulpan Khamatova (Podari Zhizn foundation), Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal FC), Dina Korzun (Dodari Zhizn foundation, Gift of Life foundation), Alina Davey of Sotheby's & Lyuba Galkina (Gift of Life)

Tags:Philanthropy, Events, London