12 Nov Manningtree actor David Webb adds Hi-de-Hi! script to celebrity treasures on offer in auction to support EACH
A script for the only episode of Hi-de-Hi! that ever received complaints for bad language is being added to the Celebrity Bottom Drawer by Manningtree actor David Webb.
Celebrity Bottom Drawer is an online auction being organised by Griff Rhys Jones, who lives just across the Suffolk/Essex border from David, as he continues his annual festive fundraising for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). As well as putting in quirky and valuable items of his own, such as a film camera casket made in Ghana and a Montblanc pen believed to be worth over £7,000, Griff has been asking his network of celebrity friends to regift items too valuable to take to the dump. A tranche of top grade celebrity cast-offs, memorabilia and treasure will be available come 27 November, when the week-long online auction will begin.
David, who played Stanley Matthews in Hi-de-Hi!, identical twin of Bruce Matthews, played by David’s brother, Tony, has dug out a script for Orphan of the Storm, an episode recorded in November 1986.
He recalled: “I remember the episode very well. Poor, old Peggy had been sacked by Joe Maplin’s hatchet man, Alec Foster. When we got the message that Maplin had overruled Foster we all rushed to the station – Manningtree as it happens, standing in for the Crimpton-on-Sea station – to tell Peggy the good news and my brother and I carried Peggy shoulder-high to our open back lorry to return to the camp. As we did so Foster arrived at the station to return to London, saw that we had rescued the situation and called us all b******s.”
David’s script joins a trove of celebrity mementos that are sure to make great gifts this Christmas. Exclusive books from a fellow David, Walliams, including one of three copies of Baby Eric, a story written for Simon Cowell when his son was born, and a special £10 note created for Doctor Who from David Tennant are among items that have already come in. The likes of Alexander Armstrong, Ant & Dec, Ian Hislop, Joanna Lumley, Matt Lucas, Ralph Fiennes and so many more have also been delving through their drawers.
EACH has experienced a hugely significant drop in voluntary income as a result of shops being closed and fundraising events cancelled this year. Just before the latest national lockdown, the charity forecasted a loss of £1.7m in funding over the next 12 months – almost a third of the total it needs to support families across East Anglia. It is now losing a further £100,000 a week in retail income whilst its shops are shut in this second lockdown.
Griff said: “I’ve been involved in many charities over the years, but EACH is one that makes a direct, one-to-one difference to people’s lives, to their happiness and their expectations. Don’t think that these hospices are about dying. They are about living. They offer the chance to get the most out of precious time. The Treehouse, run by EACH, near me, is a joyous place, full of light and hope. I have never been as emotionally moved. I met some of the parents of the children who go to the hospice. Their commitment, their love and their dedication is overpowering. It’s often a lonely and all-encompassing battle that utterly alters their own expectations of life. EACH supports them in practical ways. When care has to be intense and constant, these havens can offer, say, a single weekend of respite. It really matters. You are lucky. We are lucky. I was lucky. Many of us have never had to face this challenge. But those that do need and deserve our support. You don’t even have to bid on an auction item. You can just give.”
This is the fourth Christmas running Griff has raised money for EACH, with a star-studded show at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre last year having followed two solo performances in 2017 and 2018.
The auction will be hosted by online auction experts Bid In, kindly donating its services free of charge, with Go Group giving a free platinum delivery service straight to doors. For more information and to start looking at lots announced so far visit www.CelebrityBottomDrawer.com. Anyone who feels they already have enough items around the house will be able to ‘bid for nothing’ and make a donation straight to EACH.