Today the Yorkshire Post Christmas appeal begins in earnest with the launch of our online auction in aid of the thousands of selfless young carers across the region.
Over the next five weeks, readers will have chance to bid on 50 exclusive items and experiences which will make fantastic gifts for a loved one – or even just a treat for yourself.
And your cash will give an even greater present to young carers – the gift of childhood, helping to fund fun-filled days out and trips away to give them a break from their responsibilities at home.
The number of youngsters looking after sick or disabled loved ones is expected to soar under a shake-up of disability benefits next year, when it is feared fewer families will be able to afford care and home help costs and will increasingly rely on the support of relatives – including children.
With this bleak outlook, the work of charities and groups that support young carers and their families has never been more vital – and this is where the money raised by the auction will go.
Among the first 10 lots this week is the money-can’t-buy chance to play Willy Wonka for the day at appeal sponsor R&R’s North Yorkshire ice cream factory.
The highest bidder and their family will get to tour the site and work with the company’s product development team to create their own ice creams and lollies.
They will also receive a supply of the personalised treats so they can be shared with family and friends.
Also going under the hammer is the chance to join the bustling Yorkshire Post newsroom as business editor.
Bernard Ginns, who will be relinquishing his role to the highest bidder for a day, said: “I might be biased but the business editor of the Yorkshire Post is one of the best jobs in UK journalism.
“The role puts you at the heart of Britain’s brightest and best business community in God’s own country and gives you access to some inspirational entrepreneurs and colourful characters.”
The chance to grill Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, over a champagne afternoon tea for two at Goldsborough Hall, North Yorkshire, is also up for grabs.
The highest bidder and a guest will get to enjoy the head chef’s selection of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes in the splendid Jacobean Library or on the terrace overlooking the gardens as they tackle Mr Adams on the regional and national issues of the day.
The Conservative MP said: “I have met young carers from my own constituency and you cannot fail to be moved by what these young heroes do for their loved ones. I hope people dig deep to support this wonderful cause.”
Two VIP tickets to the Ogden of Harrogate Silver Jubilee Polo Tournament at Toulston near Tadcaster next June will also be on offer.
The day includes a champagne and Pimms reception followed by a four-course lunch with wine, plus the chance to tread the divots between chukkas and meet the winning players and their ponies.
For full details of all the lots and to get bidding, visit www.yorkshirepost.co.uk and follow the auction links from our homepage.
Bidding closes on this week’s lots at 5pm on Friday, November 16. New lots will be announced every Saturday until December 8.