An online auction of personal possessions and signed memorabilia donated by famous musicians, actors, artists and comedians has raised £65,000 for the International Rescue Committee to provide support for refugees driven from their homes by the violence in Syria.
Moved to act by the dreadful images of desperate refugees risking their lives to reach Europe, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree asked some of the biggest stars in the country to get behind the cause.
Personal items donated by Sir Paul McCartney, including clothing, a jewellery box, tour memorabilia, books, CDs and a milk jug, raised £13,500. Marcus Mumford and his band Mumford and Sons donated an electric mandolin, a Burberry jacket and waistcoat and other personal items of clothing raising £8,500. The highest bid of the auction, of over £9,000, was for a vintage ice cream van owned by Blur and used to promote their latest album ‘Magic Whip’.
Dave Rowntree said: “I’m overwhelmed by the fantastic response we had for the Star Boot Sale. Thank you to the artists, the bidders and everyone involved in making the first ever Star Boot Sale a superb success. This refugee crisis has touched people on a level I’ve never seen before and it was amazing to witness the outpouring of support from everyday people who just wanted to get involved and do something.”
Other stand-out items from the auction include signed props, such as axes and shields, from the hit TV show The Vikings, which raised almost £9,000, Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkey’s BRIT Awards jacket which fetched £2,650 and Coldplay’sFender guitar, signed by the band, which a lucky bidder took home for £2,300.
Rowntree added: “With the money raised from the auction, the International Rescue Committee will provide essential relief to so many refugees in urgent need of protection this winter, including unaccompanied children who have been separated from their families as they fled for their lives.
“We plan to come back with an actual Star Boot Sale in the spring where the artists will sell their stuff in person. We hope to make it an annual event to support the millions of Syrian refugees across the Middle East who still can’t go home as the brutal Syrian conflict enters its fifth year.”
The International Rescue Committee is providing much needed emergency assistance such as protection and health care for refugees inside Syria and across the region in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. The IRC also supports long-term recovery by helping to rebuild schools, businesses, and health systems.