A series of auctions with lots ranging from an African trip of a lifetime to a tour of the Rolls-Royce factory and a walk through the Somme battlefields has raised almost £50,000 for two charities supported by The Independent’s Homeless Veterans Appeal.
Over the past two months, 61 lots were sold in three separate online auctions. The most popular lot proved to be a “safari and diamonds” trip to Botswana, courtesy of the De Beers jewellery company, which raised £6,910 alone. An original artwork by Michael Crossan, a formerly homeless veteran helped by Veterans Aid, raised £330.
Proceeds from the appeal are being divided evenly between ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, an umbrella organisation that gives grants to thousands of individuals and smaller projects, and Veterans Aid, which helps former servicemen and women in crisis through its London drop-in centre and hostel.
The winning bid for the Crossan artwork was submitted by Craig Eastaugh, who said it now had “pride of place” in his house. The 48-year-old director of a printing company in Norwich read about the auction on the train to London and said the haunting piece immediately appealed to him.
“The piece is fantastic and very poignant,” he said. “What makes it more worthwhile is that it’s been put together with TLC by an ex-serviceman. When people come round, it’s certainly a discussion point.”
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
1/20 Glynn Barrell
Glyn Barrell is among the veterans hoping to benefit from the self-build scheme in Plymouth
2/20 Rachel Holliday
Rachel Holliday is converting a police station into a hostel
3/20 Androcles Scicluna
Veteran Androcles Scicluna says performing boosted his confidence
4/20 Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole, 51, from London, spent three years in the Army but left in 1982
5/20 Maurillia Simpson
Former servicewoman Maurillia Simpson with the medals she won at last year’s Invictus Games
Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard
6/20 Martin Rutledge
Head of The Soldiers’ Charity, Martin Rutledge, says charities sometimes allow emotion to dictate their choices
7/20 Ben Griffin
Ben Griffin wants to open people’s eyes to the cycle of political violence
8/20 Robin Horsfall
Robin Horsfall, who fought in the Falklands and helped end the Iranian embassy siege
9/20 Mark Hayward
A bed for the night and food helped Mark Hayward out of misfortune
10/20 Ashley Rosser
Ashley Rosser, who served in the RAF, at the Veterans Aid hostel in east London
11/20 Dave Henson
Britain's Invictus Games captain Dave Henson says veterans’ charities helped rebuild his life
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
12/20 Hugh Milroy
Hugh Milroy dispels myths about war-zone veterans through his work as the CEO of Veterans Aid
13/20 Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor
Former soldiers Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor work at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull under a covenant connecting veterans with employers
14/20 Mark McKillion
Mark McKillion's experience of living on the street eventually left him feeling as though the only way to escape was to end his life. He survived his desperate jump from Westminster Bridge, and VA's help has restored his "faith in humanity"
Nigel, a navy veteran, remembers living on the beach in the run-up to Christmas, when it rained every day for a week. He slept on a bench for seven years whilst suffering from Parkinson's disease.
16/20 Keith Cooper
Before Keith Cooper had his place confirmed at Avondale House in Newcastle, he was working out whether he could afford to buy a tent to live in
17/20 Simon Weston
Simon Weston, a Falklands War veteran, said even something as simple as a cup of tea can be an important step in getting the life of a homeless veteran back on track.
18/20 Ian Palmer, professor of military psychiatry
Ian Palmer, the first professor of military psychiatry to the British Armed Forces, says that the depiction of all ex-service personnel having post-traumatic stress disorder may stop people who really need help from getting it
19/20 Douglas Cameron
Evgeny Lebedev with Douglas Cameron, who had a hernia operation while serving in Burma
Johnnie Shand Kidd
20/20 Veterans Aid
General Sir Mike Jackson, President of ABF The Soldiers' Charity, called for donations to the Homeless Veterans appeal
Today, both charities expressed their delight at the amount the auctions raised. Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, chief-of-staff at The Soldiers’ Charity, said: “We continue to be humbled by the response from all of those backing the campaign; £50,000 will make a real difference to [the charities]. When you see the stories of those who both charities have helped, you can understand why there is such generosity from the public, and it’s thanks to them that we can continue this vital work.”
Dr Hugh Milroy, chief executive of Veterans Aid, added: “Those of you who have been following this campaign will have some understanding by now of how important this £25,000 is to Veterans Aid. As a needs-led charity dealing with ex-servicemen and women in crisis, we have to act immediately to prevent or address problems – and that means spending money.
“Sometimes it’s for small items like a hot meal or new clothing; sometimes a longer-term investment is required, to pay for accommodation, rehab, skills training or education. There are no quick fixes when people hit rock bottom and there’s no room for bureaucracy when someone is hungry, hurting or helpless.”Reuse content