Celebrities battle it out at THT’s Lighthouse Gala Auction

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Artist Tracey Emin and gallery owner Kenny Goss are to unveil a mutually designed window at iconic department store Liberty, after joining forces to beat fellow bidders at Terrence Higgins Trust’s (THT’s) Lighthouse Gala Auction last night. After frenzied bidding, the close friends paid £4,500 for a rare opportunity to dress, create and bring to life the window, which will stand for one week this summer.

The auction, sponsored by Prudential plc, saw fierce competition for a range of ‘money can’t buy’ lots, resulting in bidders paying £7,000 for a private dinner with the Pet Shop Boys, £6,500 for an afternoon tea date with Victoria Wood, and £4,500 for an evening with England Rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen.

In total the evening raised over £350,000 for HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, the charity’s most successful auction ever. Every penny raised will help safeguard services for people living with HIV.

Debbie Holmes, Director of Fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust said: “We are so grateful for the amazing kindness shown by all our supporters last night; with relentless bidding for the stunning lots on offer this year. With more people living with HIV than ever before in the UK, all the money raised will enable us to continue to be there for people when they need us most. We’d like to offer a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in the event.”

The auction was attended by high profile supporters including Neve Campbell, Graham Norton, Louis Walsh, Tamara Ecclestone, Russell Tovey, and Jane Asher. Now in its fourteenth year, it was held at Christie’s and saw a fantastic array of luxury items, bespoke packages and ‘money can’t buy’ experiences snapped up by eager bidders.
Proving that the Young British Artists can still attract high figures, artworks by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst were sold for much higher than their estimates. Emin’s eye-catching neon ‘Passion Passion’, a surprise lot, went for £65,000 against an estimate of £30,000. Hirst’s silkscreen print ‘Exaudi, Domine’ went for £30,000 over and above its guide price of £5,000.

An array of original artwork also went under the hammer. A print by Tracey Emin called ‘More Love’ was snapped up for £6,500. An oil painting by Jack Vettriano ‘Queen of Diamonds (Study)’ raised £26,000. Other artwork included pieces by Marc Quinn, David Hockney and David Bailey.

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