Ecclestone gala raises £1.5 million

Bernie Ecclestone's charity gala to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the Formula One World Championship raised £1.5 million for the NSPCC

Ecclestone gala raises £1.5 million

The event, which took place at the Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane last night, brought together an unprecedented collection of former world champions.

Ecclestone had instructed every F1 team to be there with their drivers. Jack Brabham, Damon Hill, Phil Hill, Nigel Mansell, Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Jody Scheckter and Jackie Stewart also attended, as well as 400 other guests including Vinnie Jones and Claudia Schiffer.

A charity auction was the highlight of the event. Villeneuve spent £35,000 on three guitars (from Nick Mason, Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea) while Ferrari top man Luca di Montezemolo paid £20,000 for the privilege of a ride in McLaren two-seater F1 car.

The top bid was a weekend at next year's Monaco Grand Prix with the use of a private jet, yacht and passes. McLaren's Mansour Ojjeh and Ron Dennis paid £250,000 for it, then gave the prize back, allowing Flavio Briatore to snatch the prize for £50,000 less.

Music was provided by Jools Holland and an all-star band: Nick Mason, Eddie Jordan, Damon Hill, Jamiroquai's Jay Kay, Leo Sayer and Eric Clapton all appearing on stage during the course of the evening.

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