In September 2017, The Lido's (in)famous Auction of Promises returned but with a difference. Due to an incredibly busy schedule, our regular ‘A List’ celebrity auctioneer, Jeremy Clarkson, was unavailable for this traditional Lido Fundraiser, so we searched high and scraped deep to find someone nowhere near as famous or talented... Semi-professional, 'celebrity' auctioneer, ITV 5’s Binkie de Sluice.
Many didn’t recognise Binkie from his brief time on television’s ‘Bargain Hunt’ and his infrequent appearances as repro-ceramics expert on ‘Antiques Roadshow’, though some knew him from the tabloids’ coverage of his fraud and art counterfeit trial at the Old Bailey in 2009. Despite his controversial acquittal, Binkie has been out of the public eye for some years, so this was a rare chance to see the ‘magic’ that makes him singularly talentless, unpredictable and potentially volatile. It was a fabulously comic auction that raised both hairs and funds in equal measure.
(Binkie de Sluice is presented by Left of Centre Illusion, the company behind comedy Russian mind-reader ‘Kockov’)
Our usual auctioneer, the journalist, author, broadcaster, The Grand Tour presenter and all round top-banana, has been an active supporter of The Lido right from the word go and has even written about the us in his Sunday Times column:
"The old town hall was stuffed to the gunwales with people who'd donated prizes. There were hundreds of them. I know because I was the auctioneer. "A jar of home- made jam, sold to you, sir, at the back. Two bags of dung. Who'll give me a tenner?" It was a fantastic evening.
My daughter, got into the swing of things and helped her dad by bidding for things that wouldn't sell. We went home with a puncture repair kit and six signed copies of my own book. From memory, the evening raised £12,000, which was - with a bit of help from the town council - enough to keep the pool open for a year. So, 12 months later, we were back to do it again. And we’ve been back every year since."
Our last Auction raised around £15,000 towards the upkeep and running of our pools and steam room. Take a look at the video.
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