THIRTEEN of the UK’s biggest household celebrity names have signed and donated their favourite mugs to the world’s largest cleft-focused organisation, Smile Train, for a celebri-tea mug auction. The online auction, which celebrates Smile Train’s favourite annual fundraiser, the Big Smile Tea Party, is currently live until Saturday 30th April.
Award-winning actress Dame Joanna Lumley, Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch, comedian Bill Bailey, TOWIE star, Jess Wright, Strictly dancer, Giovanni Pernice and singer-songwriter Tom Grennan are among the stars supporting Smile Train’s auction – each donating their favourite mug, which has been signed with a signature and a smile.
Other celebrity contributors include Love Island stars Montana Brown and Amber Davies, Paralympian Lauren Steadman, Eastenders actress Lacey Turner, star of Tracey Beaker Dani Harmer, Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams, and the nation’s favourite hand puppets and Smile Train UK ambassadors, Sooty and Sweep.
All monies raised from the auction will go to Smile Train UK so that they can provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children around the world.
To begin bidding for your favourite mug, visit Smile Train’s eBay page here: www.ebay.co.uk/str/celebriteamugauction
As well as raising funds, the celebri-tea mug auction aims to inspire people across the country to take part in this year’s Big Smile Tea Party fundraiser. Taking place throughout the month of April, the Big Smile Tea Party encourages friends, families and colleagues to come together over a cuppa and a slice of cake, whilst raising vital funds for cleft-affected children.
Dame Joanna Lumley, said:
“I’m so very happy to have signed and donated my favourite mug to Smile Train’s celebri-tea auction. I hope the winning bidder enjoys a delicious cup of coffee or tea and feels happy in the knowledge that their donation is making a difference to children with clefts worldwide.”
Amber Davies, said:
“Smile Train is a wonderful charity, and I am thrilled to be a small part of the amazing work they do to help give children their forever smiles.”
Tom Grennan, said:
“I hope that donating my signed mug to Smile Train’s auction helps bring a smile to its new owner.”
Jess Wright, said:
“When Smile Train asked me to take part in their celebri-tea mug auction, I leapt at the chance. The charity’s work is inspiring, and I am so excited to see how much money we manage to raise and how many forever smiles we can create together.”
A cleft is the most common facial difference globally, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. In the UK, cleft surgery is carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life by the National Health Service (NHS). However, hundreds of thousands of children living in resource-poor communities worldwide do not have access to the life-saving cleft treatment they so desperately need.
Smile Train uses a unique and sustainable model of empowering local medical professionals with the tools they need to provide free surgeries and a full programme of comprehensive cleft care. Over the last 20 years, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for 1.5+ million children and will continue to do so until every cleft-affected individual has access to the care they deserve.
For this year’s fundraiser, the Big Smile Tea Party will be raising awareness for Smile Train’s nutritional programmes which provide vital support to babies and their families. Babies with clefts are uniquely vulnerable to malnutrition, even when the food supply is abundant. In 2021, Smile Train announced its five-year commitment to scaling investment in global nutrition to support mothers and babies deeply affected by clefts.
Ian Vallance, Smile Train UK Director, said:
“We always love hosting the Big Smile Tea Party and this is the 5th year we have been running this community fundraiser, so we’re thrilled to have so many famous faces enjoying a brew with us – as well as donating their favourite mugs to our auction.
“It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness for our nutrition programmes as part of our comprehensive cleft care commitment. It is such an important issue for cleft-affected babies and mothers, so we wanted to use The Big Smile Tea Party as a way to spark conversation and highlight this important area. We can’t wait to watch the bidding unfold!”
The Big Smile Tea Party campaign will be running throughout April. Order your fundraising pack at smiletrain.org.uk/bigsmileteaparty today!