Celebrity doodles raise cash for Steps Club youth group

Dorset Echo: A BIT SKETCHY: Tom Lane with youngsters Stacey Follan, Steph Chung and Ross Broughton-South and sponsors Dean Richards, Clive Garman, Daniel Pettitt and Steve Bassett with a selection of doodles at the Compass School site A BIT SKETCHY: Tom Lane with youngsters Stacey Follan, Steph Chung and Ross Broughton-South and sponsors Dean Richards, Clive Garman, Daniel Pettitt and Steve Bassett with a selection of doodles at the Compass School site

CELEBRITY doodles are helping Weymouth youngsters raise much-needed cash.

Film stars, musicians, book illustrators, sporting legends, TV personalities and politicians have all lent their support to a project by Steps Club for Young People.

Club members wrote hundreds of letters to celebrities asking for a doodle or drawing which they could auction off as part of a fundraising drive.

A new Steps Club is being built in Chickerell Road backed by a government grant. But the ‘myplace’ funding is only for capital costs, which has left youngsters thinking of ways to raise money to finance activities at the centre, which will be open every day.

Members have been overwhelmed by the response with contributions by personalities including Hollywood actor John Travolta, the Duchess of York, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Thick Of It star Peter Capaldi and Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler.

The works will be put up for sale over the next two months on the online auction site eBay with the first items going under the hammer from this Sunday. It is hoped people will support the auction by bidding.

Steps member Stacey Follan, 18, said, “The Celebrity Doodle Auction project has been organised by our Youth Achievement Award group. We did a load of research and then wrote to 1,000 celebrities asking for a signed doodle or drawing. We’ve had about 170 back so far and it’s been really exciting opening all the envelopes.”

Fellow organiser Steph Chung, 17, said celebrities were asked for self-portraits or were invited to ‘doodle-a-poodle’.

Ellen Blackwood, 17, said: “We’ve had drawings back from Princess Eugenie, Donald Trump, Barbra Streisand, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cliff Richard, Gordon Banks, Lester Piggott, Ben Ainslie, and a host of other stars from TV, film, music and sport.”

She added: Some of the most lovely drawings were done by famous children’s book illustrators, and a Paddington Bear drawing was sent by Michael Bond. We even had a signed photo and poster from Jackie Chan all the way from Hong Kong!”

Area youth worker Tom Lane said the auction has been supported by four local businesses – The Windowman, Daniel’s Fish & Chips, Abbotsbury Road Londis and Sherrens Printers – which covered the costs involved.

Windowman owner Joe Djebet said: “I’m an ex-Steps member, so I know the great work the club does to support and provide opportunities for local youngsters.”

To find the items on eBay search for ‘Steps’ and ‘doodle’.

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