A successful charity auction raised thousands of pounds for a Dorchester school - with one bidder winning a coveted walk-on part in a hit TV show.

The auction, hosted by Gary Batt from Dukes Auctioneers at Bramble Café & Deli in Poundbury last Thursday evening, May 10, met its target of raising £2,500 for the Dorchester Opportunity Group, a preschool for children with special needs.

The top lot was a walk-on part in popular ITV drama Doc Martin, donated by the program's star - and West Dorset resident - Martin Clunes. The lot was won by Cathy O'Donnell, who travelled to the auction all the way from Kent, and said she was very much looking forward to her upcoming TV debut.

“The Dorchester Opportunity Group auction was a really fun and entertaining evening," Ms O'Donnell said. "It was my first visit to Dorchester, having travelled from Kent, and I had a wonderful time – the auction itself was very lively, everyone was so welcoming and friendly and the food was great!

"Talking to people throughout the evening I was able to learn a lot about the great work carried out by the Dorchester Opportunity Group, and I was incredibly happy to win the Doc Martin lot because I’m a big fan of the series and this worthwhile charity will also benefit from my donation.”

Around 30 people attended the auction, bidding for lots that alongside the Doc Martin role included a luxury hamper from the Duchy of Cornwall, the use of a Mercedes from Sandown Mercedes Benz, a family ticket to the Dorset County Show and valuation of jewellery by Jordan Jewellers.

Canapés and prosecco were provided by Mat Follas, a former Masterchef winner, and people came from as far afield as Bridport and Wiltshire.

Nyree Gibbs, manager at Dorchester Opportunity Group, praised all businesses who donated lots, noting that there had been a great deal of interest in the Doc Martin prize; she also thanked auctioneer Mr Batt, Mr Follas and the staff at the Bramble Café for their help.