A campaign giving readers the chance to be named as characters in their favourite authors’ books has raised £3,200 for children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
A total of 26 top authors, including Andy McNab, Joanna Trollope, Lisa Jewell and Belinda Bauer, took part in a 10-day eBay auction offering the chance for people to have their names immortalised in print.
The highest bid was £500 to be named as a character in former SAS Sergeant Andy McNab’s next novel The New Enemy, which will be launched in serial form later this year and published by Random House in early 2015.
The winning bidder was Casey Waterman, from Bromley, Kent, who bought it for his son Callum’s 16th birthday.
Casey said: “Getting my sons to read anything is hard enough but Callum does read Andy’s books after I have read them so I thought would be a great 16th birthday present. I think it’s something he can treasure for ever and his family in the future. I think these once in a lifetime events are great.”
Andy said: “This is a fantastic amount of money and I’m looking forward to creating a new character in Callum’s name. This was a great campaign for a wonderful charity, which supports children and young people with cancer.”
The second highest bid was for the chance to be named in the next book by crime writer Belinda Bauer. The winner was Richard Latham, who bid £180.05 for the opportunity.
He said: “Right at the end I placed my final bid and was shocked to see I had won what for a book lover is a unique prize. I was initially a little numb and then had to tell a couple of colleagues at work to make it seem real.”
Belinda said: “This campaign was great fun. My Facebook fans got really involved and it was wonderful to see so many people prepared to pay hard cash for the dubious honour of being my puppet! I was on tenterhooks too, wondering whether the name of the winner would fit in with the characters in my head.
“When Richard Latham won I was delighted, as his name not only fitted a major character perfectly, but actually inspired me to mould the character around him a bit. I found it a help, rather than a hindrance, and I hope he likes what I plan to do with him!”
CLIC Sargent eBay Coordinator Kate Apperley said: “We were delighted by the success of the auction. Some of the authors also offered meet and greets as well as characters and it was great to see the bids adding up.
“The funds raised by this auction will go towards CLIC Sargent’s work providing emotional, practical and financial support for children and young people whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer.”