‘Lincoln’ event raises €250,000 for hospice fund

With the director Stephen Spielberg ending up in a bidding war with his wife for one of the items at the charity auction, it was no wonder the event raised more than €250,000 towards the building of a hospice in Wicklow — and they are still counting.

A charity auction at the Burlington Hotel of movie memorabilia from the film Lincoln raised €150,000, and this brought the total monies raised from the screening and party last Sunday night for the building of a hospice near Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow to more than €250,000.

Brendan Cuddihy of the organising committee said: “The most expensive item at the auction was a signed print by Bono of his drawing of Peter and the Wolf. It sold for €42,000 and sparked off a bidding war between Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, which drew much amusement. Bono initially bid for it himself, but then left it to the two of them. In the end Spielberg left it to his wife.

“I think that Billy O’Sullivan, who was auctioneer on the night, really got the most he could out of people.”

The next most expensive piece on the list went for €16,000 and was a portrait of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln by the Irish artist Mark Baker.

U2’s The Edge was also in a generous mood, snapping up a signed copy of the Lincoln script for €10,000 and also splashing out €2,800 for 18 litres of champagne — also signed by members of the cast.

An original copy of the 1895 biography of Lincoln by his close confidante Isaac N Arnold, the man who introduced the bill in Congress to abolish slavery, had been donated by the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America. It raised €11,000.

The six-blade knife used by Day-Lewis in the movie — a replica of the one originally belonging to Lincoln — fetched €6,000.

A Lincoln movie poster, signed by the cast, also raised €6,000. A set of toy soldiers raised €3,500, while the white gloves worn by Day-Lewis in the movie fetched €2,500.

Bono’s wife Ali Hewson also successfully bid €2,700 for a pair of champion boxer Katie Taylor’s gloves. They too were signed by the Olympic champ.

While Bono and The Edge did not take to the stage, they were in great form throughout the party, according to onlookers.

One insider said: “Despite the fact that all the big stars had bodyguards with them, there was a lovely warm atmosphere in the room.

“People were able to casually go up to the stars and ask for autographs. When Sinead O’Connor sang ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, both Spielberg and Day-Lewis jumped to their feet in recognition.”

The evening had opened with the Three Tenors singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, with a chipper Chris de Burgh later performing a selection of his hits, opening up with the inevitable ‘Lady In Red’ and also throwing in The Beatles classic ‘Hey Jude’.

Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, who had attended the screening with his girlfriend Victoria Clarke and manager Joey Cashman, also delivered a powerful set, receiving a huge round of applause for his efforts.

Meanwhile, a delighted Daniel Day-Lewis told hospice organisers he hoped to be back in Ireland this June to turn the first sod on the site for the hospice.

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