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Guests Pledge US$10 Million (QAR36 Million) In Charity Auction

Doha, QATAR – Guests at last night’s star-studded gala dinner launching the ‘Reach Out To Asia’ charity drive dug deep into their pockets to raise almost US$10million (QAR36million) in a live auction to raise funds for the underprivileged and disadvantaged across Asia.

The glittering ‘red carpet’ bash at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha, brought together more than 500 high-profile celebrities from the world of Royalty, showbusiness, politics, sport and commerce.

Guests included former US President Bill Clinton, Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson and Germany’s former World Cup winning captain and manager Franz Beckenbauer, who is also President of the World Cup Organising Committee.

Special guest Canadian rock star Bryan Adams auctioned off an electric guitar signed by a host of music legends raising US$2.7million for the charity. The guitar had been re-auctioned after a member of Qatar’s ruling family bought the instrument earlier this year, paying US$270,000 for Adams’ own appeal launched in January for victims of the tsunami disaster in southeast Asia.

A jewellery set donated by French retailer Cartier fetched US$2million. Saudi Prince His Royal Highness Al-Waleed bin Talal bought the set for US$1million only to put it back into the auction where it raised a further US$1million.

And a special collection of soccer shirts signed by top-class players from Europe’s biggest clubs, together with a pair of World Cup tickets to the Finals in Germany next year raised a record US$700,000.

Other auction items included Formula One Grand Prix track passes and a luxury apartment in the new Pearl development in Qatar.

Renowned London-based auction house Sotheby’s described the evening as one to remember with the 45-minute sale raising so much in such short space of time.

Earlier in the day, it was revealed that the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, personally donated QAR10 million (US$2.7 million), and the Heir Apparent His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani contributed QAR5 million (US$1.4 million) to the ‘Reach Out To Asia’ charity campaign.

The donations helped give the ‘Reach Out’ fund a huge boost just weeks after its official launch – and last night’s auction was just the icing on the cake.

Qatar Foundation, Qatar Airways and the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) have been driving the ‘Reach Out To Asia’ campaign since its launch six weeks ago. The campaign is a 10-year initiative which aims to support worthy causes around the world – but focusing initially on the Asian continent.

Last night’s gala dinner was the first of several events planned over the next few months to raise the profile of ‘Reach Out’, which has been spearheaded by Her Highness Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar.

Guests at the function included the Emir and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the Heir Apparent and his wife, Her Excellency Sheikha Jawaher bint Hamad bin Sohaim Al Thani.
Joining members of Qatar’s ruling family at the dinner were a host of special guests including Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, Princess Haya, wife of Dubai’s Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, together with Qatar-based diplomats representing many nations around the world.

From the world of showbusiness and sport, the galaxy of celebrities included former gymnastic Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comeneci, Hollywood actor Jet Li, music maestro Jean Michel Jarre and CNN news anchor and Master of Ceremonies at the dinner Richard Quest.

The auction turned into a nail-biting affair as bidding was fierce and competitive. Items sold, including their final fetching price, were:

  • US$2.7million: Electric Stratocaster guitar donated by instrument specialist Fender. Signed by legends from the world of music – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Brian May, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davis, Liam Gallagher, Ronnie Wood, Tony Iommi, Angus and Malcolm Young from AC/DC, Paul McCartney, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, Def Leppard, and, Bryan Adams himself.

  • US$1.5million: A pair of Formula One Grand Prix paddock passes to any F1 event in the world, donated by millionaire F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, together with an Omega ‘Speedmaster’ watch featuring former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher’s signature and donated by the Swatch Group.

  • US$700,000: A pair of VIP tickets to the World Cup Finals in Germany next summer, courtesy of the President of the Asian Football Confederation, Mr Mohammed bin Hammam with flights provided by Qatar Airways. The 2005 Player of the Year Collection of authentic signed shirts from three of the world’s most talented soccer stars – European Footballer of the Year Andriy Schevchenko of AC Milan, World Player of the Year, Barcelona’s Ronaldinho and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, currently the World Young Player of the Year. The Premiership Collection featuring shirts from all 20 soccer clubs in the English league and each signed by the whole team. The European Champions Collection of signed shirts from six of Europe’s top clubs – Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Olympique Lyonnais and PSV Eindhoven.

  • US$2.5million: A luxury apartment in the new Pearl development in Qatar donated by the Alfardan Group. Bought for US$900,000 and re-auctioned twice.

  • US$2million: Jewellery donated by French retailer Cartier. Bought for US$1m and re-auctioned.

  • US$220,000: Hermes bag.

Singer Bryan Adams, a long-term champion of worthy charitable causes, was personally moved by the tsunami last year which left more than 200,000 people dead. As a result, he initiated a campaign to get a guitar signed by music stars for an auction, with the money used towards the tsunami relief efforts.

He surprised guests last night when he announced that a member of Qatar’s ruling family who bought the guitar in an auction earlier this year, was donating it to the ‘Reach Out charity – and fetching US$2.7million last night.

Adams said afterwards: “The guitar has been an exciting project and many of the greatest names in the music world have signed this wonderful instrument. I will be donating the money to the tsunami victims and I am extremely delighted that this guitar was auctioned off again last night for the benefit of the ‘Reach Out To Asia’ campaign.”

He performed a couple of songs at the end of the night with Bilal Wassim Shokr, a 12-year-old singer, composer and musician based in Doha.

Henry Wyndham, of Sotheby’s, said after the auction: “I have auctioned many items for charity in my life but never have I witnessed the levels we achieved tonight. This will stay in my memory for a very long time indeed.”

According to David Sheepshanks of the English Football Association, who presented the football collection, said: “This was a truly amazing and unique collection of soccer items sold here tonight. From my experience it has set a world record. The package also included some other unique football shirts from leading clubs such as Real Madrid, AC Milan and Manchester United all signed by their stars.”

Her Highness Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said after the event: “I am extremely pleased to see this launch ‘Reach Out To Asia event being such a success. We had an excellent turnout and, the most important thing was almost $10million was raised for such a worthy cause.

“I thank everyone for all their wonderful donations and hope the ‘Reach Out’ campaign continues with the momentum it deserves.”

Commenting after the auction, Perry Smith, Executive Assistant to HH the Patron of the Charity, said: “This auction of just six very individual items, raised over $10million tonight. It was truly inspiring to see the generosity of people such as HRH Prince Al Waleed bin Talal who amazingly put up over a million dollars for a beautiful Cartier set only to gift it back for re-auction where it fetched another $1m.

“HH Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem started the ball rolling by buying and then gifting us back a fabulous apartment on Pearl Island which eventually raised $2.5m. A truly ‘one-off’ timepiece from Omega, signed by F1 legend Michael Schumacher and presented by the Gulf’s only lady rally driver, Nada Zeidan, raised a further $1.5m while Bryan Adams’ guitar fetched $2.7m.”

During the evening, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge was bestowed the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the world of sport and promoting human endeavours. He was presented with the award by cycling legend and five-times Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx.

Iranian stand-up comedian Omid Djalili, who is based in London, provided his own brand of humour on the night. Celebrated lifestyle guru Colin Cowie, whose credits include arranging the 50th birthday party for Oprah Winfrey, arranged the event.

Donations to ‘Reach Out To Asia’ the charity can be made by individuals, companies and organisations to the following account: -

Qatar National Bank
The Reach Out Fund
Account Number 0035-004919-001
Tel: (974) 440-7407
Fax: (974) 441-5020

Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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