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Shelley Silas

Silent auction goes live!

Thursday October 18, 2012


Grayson Perry, Maggi Hambling and Howard Hodgkin are just three of the UK's leading artists who have pledged their support to Diversity Role Models' first ever Celebrity Carnival and Auction.The arts related auction items kindly donated include:

  • Night wave crashing 2012, an oil painting by Maggi Hambling

  • A unique ceramic dog created and donated by Grayson Perry

  • A visit to Howard Hodgkin's studio, hosted by Mr Hodgkin himself

  • Matisse's 'Kings Sadness' - an original colour lithograph from 1952

  • LOVE_FRAME 63 - an artwork of oil, ink & spray paint on paper by Lucy Ash, one of a series entitled 49 Frames of Love recently exhibited at Heartbreak Gallery in Marylebone

  • The chance for the winning bidder to be a named character in a new Patrick Gale novel.

A silent auction will be open to all interested bidders for the Matisse and the Lucy Ash from now until 12 noon on 24 October, with bids being registered at A live auction for the Maggi Hambling painting, Grayson Perry ceramic and many other fantastic prizes (such as a day at the races with Clare Balding or tea with Downton Abbey's Lady Mary at Claridges) will be conducted by Christopher Biggins at the Carnival on 25 October, while guests will still be able to bid for the silent auction lots throughout the evening. Pictures of the Matisse and Lucy Ash and other silent auction lots are now available on the Carnival pages of the charity's website -

The fund-raising event, which is taking place on Thursday 25 October 2012 at London's exclusive Paramount bar at the top of Centre Point in Oxford Street, has already won the support of celebrities such as David Tennant, who commented: "I am delighted to be supporting the Diversity Role Models Carnival at Paramount. It is essential to help break down the stereotypes and prejudice that lead to bullying. The
Paramount event is a fantastic way of supporting this important work, whilst enjoying some of the best views London has to offer". Other celebrities that have already promised to attend the event include: Sue Perkins, Boy George, Lily Allen, Michelle Dockery, Charlie Condou and the Captain of the Paralympics Sitting Volleyball team, sportswoman Claire Harvey. In addition, Alison Moyet will be giving a special vocal performance during the evening.

Diversity Role Models ("DRM") was set up in 2011 by former teacher, Suran Dickson, to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, Bullying in schools can drastically affect young people's lives - sometimes even to the point of suicide. Tragically, this was certainly the case with a young boy called Dominic Crouch who committed suicide in Cheltenham in May 2010, not able to bear the taunts that he was gay - something that was never, in fact, proven. It was this story which was the final straw for Suran, who left her 12 year teaching career to found DRM, painfully aware of how pervasive a problem homophobic behaviour and attitudes in schools and cyber-space has become for young people, despite an ostensible improvement in adult society's acceptance of LGBT people:

  • 41% of students who suffer homophobic bullying consider or attempt suicide

  • More than half suffer bullying at school; 37% never report this.

  • Bullied students can't focus on learning and achievement and up to 50% therefore start missing school.

Homophobic bullying can seriously impair wellbeing and future life chances.
Straight students are also pressurised to conform to prescribed gender stereotypes to avoid being labelled as gay or lesbian. When "gay" is used derogatively, boys tend to avoid the arts/dance, and
girls often shy away from sport.

Chief executive of Diversity Role Models, Suran Dickson, commented: "We have had an extraordinary first year but DRM's work has only just started. The Carnival on 25 October is our first major fundraising event and its success will be a key step in the acceleration of our work, enabling us to offer workshops in schools across the UK. We have been thrilled by the generosity and support shown by some of the UK's leading artists and look forward to an exciting auction, kicking off with the opening of the silent auction on 1 October."

Voicing her support for the Diversity Role Models auction, Maggi Hambling commented: "It is intolerable that our so called civilised society does not, even now, tolerate let alone appreciate individuality."

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