Essex Air Ambulance have “fabulous” time on new ITV show hosted by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

A TEAM from the Essex Air Ambulance (EEA) held on to the ‘bidder’ end as they played their part in a new television auction show.

The team took part in ITV’s Auction Party – hosted by celebrity interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – which is to be aired in the spring.

The charity challenge pits two charities against other in a bidding battle. Both organisations beg, borrow and take donations of items from friends and volunteers, which then must up-cycle and renovate ready for auction.

Among those items which they sold off were an ornate French sofa, antique books, tankards and furniture.

Mr Llewelyn-Bowen acted as the star auctioneer at a party organised by the two charities and held at Bury Lodge near Stansted Airport.

EEA’s fundraising manager Nina Bensher said: “It was a really unique and amazing experience.

“It was fantastic to raise vital funds for the air ambulance and it was done in the best possible way because we also had the chance to get our helicopter on [national] television.

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“We are overwhelmed by the support that we have been shown.”

After a close contest EEA team – made up of Ms Bensher, executive director Jane Gurney, paramedic Lawrie Phillipson and volunteer Peter Hennessy – raked in �1360 while Isabel Hospice, based in Bishop’s Stortford, pipped them with a �1452 haul.

“It was a good team effort and great for team-building,” said Ms Bensher.

“The final auction day itself was great fun, although really tiring, and Bury Lodge was the perfect venue for the auction – it looked perfect.

“Laurence was fantastic and was good at putting us all at ease with the camera. Jodie Marsh was our special guest who modelled a necklace for the charity – she was fabulous as well.”

It costs �250,000 per month to keep the Essex Air Ambulance service running. The service receives no funding but relies on donations from the people of Essex.

The service, which is close to completing its 11,000th mission, now has a doctor on board so that it can offer a hospital service at the scene of an accident.

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