Words and images by Stuart Fawcett (jackalltog
Last Friday Christian Sylt of the Charity 'Zoom' drew some very well known Formula 1 names to the Intercontinental Hotel in Hyde Park in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. A key sponsor and supporter of the Charity is Formula 1 legend Bernie Ecclestone. He came with his daughter Tamara Ecclestone and her husband Jay Rutland and the baby bump, posing here for a family photo.
Family and children in particular are what the evening was really all about, with the event raising money for the Great Ormond Street Hospital which specialises in caring for children. One such person whose life was changed by the hospital is young Tom shown below with his mother Karen. He was invited to the event along with other older children so that they could see the charity in action and so that the attendees could actually see the people they are helping.
So how do they raise the money? Well Christian and Bernie have known each other for a while and produce a limited edition book titled 'Zoom' with a print run of a few thousand containing pictures and F1 insights by the drivers and the proceeds went to the charity.
The main draw of this particular evening, however, is the auction of unique one-off photographs, signed by the drivers that took them. Plus, as part of Nikon's sponsorship of the event, they provide the drivers with cameras to take their images on which are also auctioned off to raise money.
High profile bidders included Bernie himself who out bid everyone else to buy back his own photo, celebrity TV chef and F1 Fan James Martin, Suzi Perry who paid top dollar for F1 legend John Surtees' signed Nikon COOLPIX, and even Nikon's own UK President Mr Hidehiko Tanaka purchased a Nikon COOLPIX with a proud smile on his face (shown below making the winning bid). Overall, at least £20,550 was raised this time from the auction alone.
The Auction was run brilliantly by specialist vintage car auctioneer Chris Roach of Coys. Though he had to contend with stage invasions by many of the photographers including Bernie, Damon Hill with Scott Horne, and Christian Horner with photos of his donkeys Bobby & Besty.
The highest bid of the evening was for Fernando Alonso's picture of the F1 crowd. This picture taking event was shown on TV and the winning Bidder Zayed Alzayani of the Bahrain International Circuit bought it as he had such fond memories of seeing this on television. This is what makes the images of value to the charity - that the drivers try and make it memorable and special.
The other high bid of the evening went to Michael Schumacher's train ride photo taken before his accident and drawing a strong round of applause of respect and good wishes for his recovery.
This is the 2nd year of the charity event so I hope that next year's auction will be even better and more bidders and drivers will keep this event special for the thousands of F1 fans that can gain a piece of history and help Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity in its world class work with children.
For more information, visit the Zoom Auction website