Sports auction for India trip

Dorset Echo: Ben and Jonathan with some of the memorabilia Ben and Jonathan with some of the memorabilia

SPORTS stars have given a boost to a pair of Weymouth students’ bid for the trek of a lifetime.

Olympic champion ice skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Sir Ben Ainslee and Clare Balding have all responded to a plea for memorabilia for an auction so that All Saints School students can travel to India.

Ben Billington and Jonathan Young, along with other students and a teacher, will spend a week trekking the Himalayas before carrying out a project in a local community.

The students have to raise the entire cost of the trip themselves- and Ben and Jonathan came up with a champion idea.

They will hold a quiz night and sports memorabilia auction on May 10 at St Andrews Church rooms, Preston.

Amongst the items received so far are a Southampton FC pennant signed by the team, a Royal Ascot race programme signed by Clare Balding, a Team GB T-shirt signed by Sally Gunnell, a model sailing boat signed by Sir Ben Ainslie, official Formula 1 merchandise from McLaren and a large signed photo of England and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.

Ben, 16, said: “We each have to raise £2,345 to take part in the expedition.

"Jonny and I are working as a team, which makes the fundraising easier.

"So far we have helped people pack their supermarket shopping and we have made crafts to sell at Christmas markets, but we still have a long way to go”.

“One evening I searched the internet for the addresses of sports clubs and sporting agents. I sent off about 50 letters explaining the expedition and the fact that we needed to raise the cost of the trip ourselves. Slowly donations started arriving through the post.”

For more information or to make a sealed bid on any of the auction items, visit the Facebook page. 

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