When Paul McCartney penned “Can’t Buy Me Love”, he was obviously not counting on the Athletes’ Date Auction, organised by the Volleyball Club and Project Zambia and held at Rascals Bar on 23 February. Whatever the romantic outcomes of the bids that secured dates with some of Saints Sport’s finest, what is for sure is that they raised £750 to aid the supporting and training in sports and media across Zambia.
There was an excellent turnout, with the venue busy well before the event kicked off at 9pm. From Basketball to Netball to
Ultimate, the University clubs were well represented. After enough false starts to give the IAAF palpitations, the Rascals MC found a microphone he was happy with and the 21 dates paraded to warm enthusiasm.
The Saint was not the only student media outlet represented at the event, for Bubble TV’s Hannah Frith was also present, and she had the unenviable task of starting off proceedings as the first date (i.e. going for a free dinner at Rascals) up for grabs. That dinner date was soon bought for £20, and the fundraising effort was off to a fast start.
The Volleyball Club, instrumental in organising the fundraiser, was also providing dates for the sporting singletons and Indré
Semogas set a new high benchmark, going for £40, before some rapid-fire bids saw Fencing’s Jessica Boston sold for £42.
Already the bids’ total was over £120 and Calum Turnbull of the Boat Club pushed the bar even higher, as his homage to the Hulk
– ripping off his shirt, not turning green – prompted an incredible £60 winning bid.
Even better followed, as £65 won the date of Women’s Basketball Captain Hannah Rogers and the total was closing in on £250.
From Speedos to splits, the prospective dates were pulling out all the stops to push the bids upwards, as well as thoroughly
entertaining their sporting fellows – and the odd local, who must have wondered what exactly they’d stumbled upon.
Men’s Basketball’s Martin Hinkens – German ‘singing sensation’ – treated the crowd to a musical number, and he was judged to have the X-Factor as he was bought for £30, which took the money raised over £400.
The remaining athletes kept the total rising, and also ensured the MC himself snagged himself a date. Chris McLeod of the Tennis Club, whose favourite drink was revealed to be champagne, had cause to celebrate as he was sold for £55.
With the first 20 dates gone and the bid total sitting well over £650, AU President Andrew Hall stepped forward and the bidding began, rapidly reaching £40. Removing his T-shirt – yes, that old trick – had just the desired effect, as a last-gasp bid of £77 rocketed the total up to £750 and showed the President remains AU top dog.
With £750 generated by bids, another £100 from T-shirt sales and plenty more from entrance fees, the Athletes’ Date Auction proved an enormous success, both well-attended and much-enjoyed.
And never in the field of dating was so much raised for such a good cause. (It was possibly just as well the closing thank-you
speech was left to top totty Andrew Hall, and not me.)