The prospect of a bespoke piece of art by Tracey Emin raised a remarkable 25,150 for The Independent's Christmas Appeal yesterday, as bidding closed for the paper's charity auction.
The prize a special drawing of the buyer's pet embroidered on to a cushion in Emin's trademark style went to 29-year-old James Laing from Harrogate. Mr Laing, a professional singer with Opera North, said he would be commissioning Emin to draw his dog Macey as a present for the whole family.
"Our dog is a very distinctive Staffordshire bull terrier, so it will be a great memento," he said. "My wife always said that when Macey died she was going to have her stuffed, and I thought it might be better to have her immortalised in a different way." He said this was the first time he had purchased a work by the artist. "I haven't bought any Emin before, but I do collect modern art in a casual way. I get The Independent delivered every day, and the appeal seemed like a very good cause."
Mr Laing had to stay close to his computer as he fought a bidding war with a rival art enthusiast, and finally placed the winning bid with less than an hour to spare. The cost will be more than his entire fee for the Christmas show he is due to perform in, but he says "it is more than worth it".
Emin's works are known for fetching high sums; earlier this year, a hand-sewn blanket called Star Trek Voyager sold for 800,000 at auction. The world-famous artist, who also writes a column for this newspaper, has received critical success this year, after representing the country at the Venice Biennale. Despite rising to fame with work using found objects, such as My Bed, where she displayed her unmade bed and the dishevelled contents of her room, in recent years Emin's style has been characterised by drawings and embroidery.
Altogether the auction raised a remarkable 103,190 for The Independent's Christmas Appeal, which will be shared between three charities: Save The Children, The International Children's Trust and The Gorilla Organisation.
Robert Fisk's private lecture to a select group of 12 fetched the next highest sum at auction, raising 7,400 for the appeal. The foreign correspondent, famed for his coverage of the Middle East, will be talking on Islam and the West to the lucky few.
Another high sum was bid for a trip away with The Independent's travel editor, Simon Calder. The Pilgrimage to the End of the World, involving a weekend away with Mr Calder in Santiago de Compostela, including a write-up in The Independent, raised 6,600.
Almost all the 41 lots fetched four-figure sums. A day behind the scenes at the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing with columnist Claudia Winkleman fetched 4,200.
An interview with Deborah Ross to be published in the paper raised 3,600. Also up from last year was a lunch with the editor Simon Kelner; the winning bidder spent 3,600 on the opportunity to chat to him over a meal at The Ivy.
The winning bids
Lot 1: A Day at the paper Winning bid: 1,550. (Last year: 2,850).
Lot 2: Meet the boss Winning bid: 3,600. (Last year: 2,800).
Lot 3: The Yasmin picnic Winning bid: 1,150. (Last year: 1,600).
Lot 4: Walk with Will Self Winning bid: 1,800. (Last year: 2,250).
Lot 5: Dinner cooked by Mark Hix Winning bid: 2,750. (Last year: 2,400).
Lot 6: London Fashion Week Winning bid: 1,550. (Last year: 2,050).
Lot 7: Attend a book launch with John Walsh Winning bid: 910. (Last year: 1,300).
Lot 8: Wine tasting Winning bid: 1,200. (Last year: 920.)
Lot 9: Fashion makeover Winning bid: 3,000. (Last year: 1,650).
Lot 10: Review a restaurant with Tracey Macleod Winning bid: 2,750. (Last year: 1,300).
Lot 11: Country walk with Janet Street-Porter Winning bid: 1,800. (Last year: 1,650).
Lot 12: Gardening advice Winning bid: 1,300. (Last year: 2,500).
Lot 13: Backstage passes to a gig Winning bid: 660. (Last year: 1,550).
Lot 14: Racing at Rockingham Winning bid: 1,300. (Not previously offered).
Lot 15: Personalised cartoon Winning bid: 1,450. (Last year: 850).
Lot 16: Lunch at Westminster Winning bid: 1,550. (Last year: 1,200)
Lot 17: Sports report Winning bid: 1,950. (Last year: 2,150).
Lot 18: Sport pictures Winning bid: 1,000. (Last year: 1,000).
Lot 19: Family pictures Winning bid: 2,050. (Last year: 5,000).
Lot 20: Dog training Winning bid: 610. (Not previously offered).
Lot 21: Brian Viner Interview Winning bid: 1,450. (Last year: 1,650).
Lot 22: Lecture from Mark Steel Winning bid: 1,800. (Last year: 2,650).
Lot 23: Cricket at Lords Winning bid: 1,050. (Last year: 3,500).
Lot 24: Tennis training with Nick Bollettieri Winning bid: 1,650. (Last year: 1,650).
Lot 25: Trip to a London premiere Winning bid: 920. (Last year: 660).
Lot 26: Tour of London with Jeremy Beadle Winning bid: 1,700. (Not previously offered).
Lot 27: Tour of Second World War beaches Winning bid: 1,700. (Last year: 3,050).
Lot 28: Night out with Pandora Winning bid: 390. (Last year: 710).
Lot 29: The Ross experience Winning bid: 3,600. (Last year: 2,250).
Lot 30: Agony aunt advice Winning bid: 610. (Last year: 960).
Lot 31: Behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing Winning bid: 4,200. (Not previously offered).
Lot 32: Robert Fisk lecture Winning bid: 7,400. (Last year: 5,050).
Lot 33: Green makeover Winning bid: 1,600. (Last year: 1,200).
Lot 34: Day at Crystal Palace FC Winning bid: 3,700. (Last year: 3,500).
Lot 35: Road to Compostela Winning bid: 6,600. (Not previously offered).
Lot 36: Ralph Steadman print Winning bid: 620. (Not previously offered).
Lot 37: Financial advice Winning bid: 1,800. (Last year: 950).
Lot 38: Afternoon at Twickenham Winning bid: 820. (Last year: 810).
Lot 39: Personalised Indy front page Winning bid: 500. (Last year: 405).
Lot 40: An afternoon with Alex James Winning bid: 2,000. (Not previously offered).
Lot 41: Tracey Emin artwork Winning bid: 25,150. (Not previously offered).