The Great Anorak Amnesty

First Direct and The Independent are asking stars and the public to shed their jackets for the homeless. Melanie Rickey reveals all
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Indy Lifestyle Online
These anoraks have been about the most popular items in The Independent offices this past week. Various members of staff have oohed and aahed over the infamous silver puffa as worn by Bianca in EastEnders, and marvelled at the used tissue still in the pocket. Others have been rather taken by Julian Clary's customised donkey jacket; the signed bent spoon in the pocket of Uri Geller's not-very-fetching anorak, and the handwritten postcard in the pocket of Helen Mirren's stripey jacket.

So what are we doing with these invaluable items of popular culture?

First Direct bank decided to launch a website, thinking "it's not just for anoraks any more, anyone can do it". Which leads to, "I know, let's ask people to chuck out their anoraks and drop them at their nearest Shelter shop; ask celebrities to donate theirs, and give all the money to Shelter".

Which is just what they did to celebrate their arrival on the Internet, and why we've got them.

All of the jackets featured here have either been signed, or have something signed with them, and each one is totally authentic.

For Robbie fans, I can reveal it smells very nice and clean. For Robin Cook fans, I'm afraid he hasn't donated the green anorak/"expensive car coat" he recently married in, nor indeed any other item of his clothing. Shame. He is currently the most famous anorak wearer (who doesn't admit to wearing one) in Britain (aside from Jarvis Cocker, of course).

The 82 Shelter stores are also taking part in this anorak amnesty. They have set up big bins in each store for the general public to donate their old anoraks, coats and jackets, which will be cleaned up and then resold for between pounds 4 and pounds 30. The money raised, including an initial sum of pounds 20,000 from First Direct, will go to help homeless people find a place to live, and help those about to lose their homes due to lack of funds.

For local Shelter shop call 0171-505 2086.

anoraks under the hammer

Do you want one then?

We're auctioning these wonderful jackets off to the highest bidder in aid of Shelter. Lowest bid is pounds 25 and the sky is the limit.

To place a bid, send a postcard with your name, address, daytime phone number and the name of the celebrity whose anorak most takes your fancy, to: Independent/Anorak Amnesty, Band & Brown, 57 Jamestown Road, Camden, London, NW1 7DB. The highest bidder will be notified by phone at the end of May.

There will be more celebrity anoraks up for auction on First Direct's new website www.firstdirect.co.uk from this Wednesday.

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