Norwich father goes on auction for charity fundraiser

Thousands of pounds have been raised by a fancy dress charity day, including man auction, organised by a Norwich couple whose son suffers from a condition known to affect around only 200 other people in the world.

Leo Appleyard is set to turn two years old at the end of this month and has Mowat-Wilson syndrome, which gives him learning difficulties, eating problems, sleep issues and means he cannot sit unaided.

And it was inspired by East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) help that his father Simon, of Beecheno Road, Larkman, put himself up for auction as part of a day long fundraiser alongside eight others at The Cock Inn pub in Drayton where he is assistant manager.

His wife Lydia, 30, said: 'I cried at the end of the night because people had been so generous and lovely, and because it's a children's charity people have been amazingly good.'

Friday's event started with a bake sale and Disney-themed fancy dress policy that saw Tinkerbell rub shoulders with Cruella de Ville and Pocahontas.

Later, as day turned to night, a raffle with donated prizes including a �350 bracelet from Norwich jewellers Sonkai, boxes of cosmetics and chocolates packed the pub out.

Then came the auction, as nine men offering everything from gardening to ironing services were snapped up, raising �240 between them.

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Mrs Appleyard, who gave up her job to be a full-time carer for their son, said that the total of �1662 would be matched by the pub owner Marston's.

Thanking all those who helped out with the day, she added: 'Just to have been able to help a charity that means so much to us and will help other families out is brilliant. It makes you feel good, and it was a wonderful day, too.'

•Are you putting on a fundraiser? Contact reporter John Owens on 01603 772439.