x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

James Bond-themed Aston Martin is star lot at Dubai auction for Syrian refugees

Oxfam chief hopes to raise more than US$1 million to help Syrians through winter at the Dubai International Film Festival charity event.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Coupé in Skyfall silver with Bond detailing is one of the top items at this year's auction. Courtesy DIFF
The Aston Martin Vanquish Coupé in Skyfall silver with Bond detailing is one of the top items at this year's auction. Courtesy DIFF

DUBAI // A special-edition Aston Martin created to mark the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise is the star lot at an auction for Syrian refugees.

It is hoped the sleek Vanquish and other items will raise at least US$1 million (Dh3.67m) for the needy.

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam Great Britain, said the money raised from the Dubai International Film Festival charity event would help Syrian refugees get through the winter.

“It is a really exciting event,” said Mr Goldring, who is in the UAE for the annual fundraising event, One Night to Change Lives.

“If we can raise $1m, it can make a substantial difference. It is a very exciting auction.

“We hope we can use the drama and enthusiasm to support such an important cause. It is going to be a cold and a hostile winter for the Syrian refugees.”

The Aston Martin has a Skyfall silver exterior and an Aurora blue leather interior with quilted, cooled seats.

The seats are embellished with a ‘50 years of 007’ logo on the headrests and 20-spoke, diamond-turned gloss-black wheels.

The car is also engraved with the signatures of Bond sar Daniel Craig and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

The charity auction, at the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa, will also include the clapperboard used during the filming of Skyfall, two tickets to the premiere of the next Bond film in London along with business-class tickets and a hotel stay, and a visit to the filming location of television series Downton Abbey.

Avengers star Scarlett Johansson, an Oxfam global ambassador, has donated VIP tickets to the premiere of her next film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and air tickets.

Actors Rooney Mara, Mark Ruffalo and Naomie Harris, the star of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Skyfall, are expected to be at the auction. Bollywood stars Rahul Bose and Arjun Rampal are also due to be there.

Oxfam is partnering with the festival and Dubai Cares for the third consecutive year. The proceeds from the auction will be used to provide clothing, food, blankets and shelter for displaced Syrian families and children in Lebanon and Jordan.

Mr Goldring, who is on a four-day trip to the UAE, said: “We are working with 600,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This auction will enable us to support more people.”

He said the focus was on the war-torn country because of the severity of the situation.

“We have to keep striving for a political solution and keep the channels of discussion open,” he said. “We have to bring the voices of ordinary people, especially women, to the fore.

“At the same time, we have to look at humanitarian solutions. It’s going to be a harsh winter and people are suffering massively.”

Mr Goldring is due to meet representatives of the Khalifa Foundation, Emirates Red Crescent, Dubai Cares and a Sharjah-based charity, Salam ya Seghar, which aims to help Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza.

“The people of the UAE are amazingly generous, both as individuals and as companies,” he said. “We greatly value our partnerships with the UAE.

“We have worked with exciting charities like Salam ya Seghar that is doing great and innovative work in Palestine.

“We are trying to see if we can generate support from organisations in the region for our social investment projects.”

Oxfam is working with Dubai Cares in Pakistan to build 19 schools and is also developing programmes to keep girls in schools in the country.

It has partnered with Salam ya Seghar to provide food, education and uniforms to more than 18,000 children.

pkannan@thenational.ae