The RNID is running its annual Valentine's fundraising event with just one central message - it is just a bit of fun. But all the better if it raises awareness of the RNID and its work to improve the quality of life for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the UK.
'Fame for a Flame' is the RNID's third online auction of celebrity-signed Valentine's Day cards. Stars such as Cliff Richard and Footballers Wives actor Gary Lucy sign cards that can be sold for anything from £1 to more than £100.
The fundraising activity was launched on the Ebay website on 12 January with an array of cards signed by A-list personalities, such as Ant and Dec, Atomic Kitten and Graham Norton. It will run for a total of five weeks.
The RNID calls on celebrity support for the campaign every year and sends participants a standard card for them to annotate. Celebrities are given the freedom to personalise their cards - some are lipstick-kissed, others contain doodles or pictures of themselves. Some celebrities, such as Christopher Parker, who plays the character Spencer Moon in Eastenders, opted to include a lock of their hair. Last year, about 40 cards were sold - this year the charity expects to sell 80 or 90.
"The RNID's 'Fame for a Flame' celebrity-signed Valentine's card auction has been, and continues to be, a very successful fundraising promotion for the organisation," said Grahame Darnell, head of corporate fundraising at the RNID. "The auction helps raise valuable funds for the RNID, which in turn enables the organisation to fund projects and services that benefit the 9 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the UK."
This year's auction is proving to be a hit with all ages even beyond its target audience. "Cliff Richard is incredibly popular. His card sold for £80 the other day," said Karen Baxter, the charity's media relations officer. The charity hopes people will buy the cards for their partners or for themselves, and for comedy value if not for romance.
Baxter said that the auction has gone from strength to strength. "We make more money out of it each year and we've only had positive responses. We made £3,000 in the first year, £5,000 last year and we will do even better this time around."