“Welcome to the home of muck and magic!” is the intriguing introduction to Farms for City Children, the charity founded by acclaimed War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare in 1976. The programme began with one small farm in Devon, and has expanded to include three properties hosting 3,200 primary school children annually – kids who go to the countryside to experience nature on a working farm, and at the same time gain independence and self-confidence. But the week-long excursions are costly, which is why it is to host its first Ultimate Spring Party in London – a fundraising auction that will take place on April 26 at the Savoy Hotel, but with a selection of lots that can be bid for online too.
The evening event (priced £80 per person) kicks-off with canapés and Tattinger champagne, which should whet the appetite nicely for a performance by Michael Morpurgo and a silent auction. There are a number of enticing experiences among the auction lots including a week’s holiday for six in the Algarve, a romantic getaway to The Pig at Combe and Lympstone Manor or salmon fishing at Devon’s Castle Drogo.
A rare signed copy of Cave Birds by Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin (£2,000) should seduce literary lovers, while the Boodles diamond pendant (£2,400) and limited edition silver necklace by artist Gavin Turk (£400) will be a draw for those with an eye for gems and jewellery. But it’s the lot entitled “A Week of Muck & Magic for an Inner City School” (£10,800) that perhaps has the most power to reach children in need – as the prize offers a potentially life-changing experience for 36 children. Browse the full line-up of prizes on offer at the charity’s auction here.