HAVE you ever fancied standing on the footplate of a steam loco as it speeds across the North York Moors, ringing the bells at York Minster or meeting York City’s players and manager before watching a match at Bootham Crescent? Or finding out what it feels like to fly in an RAF plane or attend a Royal Salute as a VIP guest?

The Press today launches a special charity auction, giving readers the chance to enjoy these and other once-in-a-lifetime treats while also raising funds for the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal.

We need to raise about another £3,000 to realise our aim of creating a stained glass window at All Saints’ Church in Pavement, which will recognise the service of thousands of Church in Pavement, which will recognise the service of thousands of York men and women in Afghanistan over the past decade – including three servicemen who were killed in action.

The newspaper has teamed up with organisations and individuals across York and North Yorkshire to set up the auction. Readers have the chance to place a blind bid for something they – or a friend or relative – have always wanted to do but cannot normally be bought.

The once-in-a-lifetime treats we are offering are:

• A VIP day for two people at York City Football Club for the match against Accrington Stanley on Saturday, April 12. The successful bidder will arrive at Bootham Crescent at 2 pm, enjoy a light buffet lunch in the vice president’s suite, visit the City dressing room before the match to meet the players and manager Nigel Worthington, watch the match from seats in the directors’ box seating area, enjoy half-time refreshment and be presented with a signed York City ball at full time.

• A chance to ring the 10 ¾ tonne noontime bell at York Minster, followed by a standard tour for up to 10 people of the Minster’s Stoneyard and East End, to see work taking place on the Great East Window.

• Help to prepare a heritage steam locomotive at the National Railway Museum, including climbing aboard and assisting the driver by taking it for a ride.*

• Two guests to join Brigadier Greville Bibby, Commander 15 (North East) Brigade and York Garrison and Mrs Bibby, as VIP guests at the Royal Gun Salute in the Museum Gardens in York on Monday June 2. After starting with coffee at the Officers’ Mess in Fulford Road, guests will be driven to the gardens to take their place with the Brigadier and Civic Party to witness the salute, before returning to the Brigadier’s house for luncheon.

• A ride on the footplate of a steam loco on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway between Pickering and Grosmont. **

• Two tickets for the County Stand at York Racecourse for the first Saturday meeting of the new season on May 31, including a visit to the parade ring to see the horses before a race.

• A one-hour session for two people on the Tucano Simulator at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, coupled with a tour of the station and lunch. Minimum age for participants is 12, pregnant women should not take part and all users must be physically fit and mobile enough to be able to enter and exit the single seat cockpit unaided.

• A ride to York’s Mansion House in the Lord Mayor’s chauffeur driven limousine (from within the City of York Council boundaries), a tour of the Mansion House and afternoon tea with the Lord Mayor of the day, offered by the current and future Lord Mayors, Couns Julie Gunnell and Ian Gillies.

• People can also bid for a family ticket for four people to go to the theme park and zoo at Flamingo Land near Pickering, including a half-hour ‘hands-on animal encounter’ with creatures such as meerkats, ring-tailed lemurs, giraffes and penguins.

People would go into the enclosures to feed the lemurs or meerkats, or feed the giraffes from an adjacent enclosure, or feed the penguins from a viewing platform by the poolside – a treat which can normally be bought for £190.

All the treats are to be taken on a mutually convenient date unless a specific date is stated above.

*Terms and conditions for the NRM prize.

1. The prize is non transferable and there is not a cash alternative

2. The prize is valid for 2 adults

3. Participants must be over 18 years of age

4. The prize must be redeemed on a weekday outside of school holidays at a time convenient to the museum, with the participants attending together

5. Participants must be physically fit, able to climb uneven steps and stand for long periods of time.

6. The duration of the Driver Experience will be determined by the National Railway Museum or its representative.

7. Participants must not be under the influence of drugs and alcohol for this experience.

8. Clothes worn for the experience must not be made of synthetic materials, and the National Railway Museum accepts no responsibility should clothing become soiled or damaged. The museum will loan overalls and steel toed boots. for the duration of the experience.

9. During the experience participants must not act in any way which would jeopardise the Health and Safety of themselves, the National Railway Museum or any other third party, or cause damage to museum property.

10. Participants must obey all instructions given by the museum’s supervising driver.

11. Participants will be asked to sign a declaration to confirm that they have read and understood these terms and conditions.

12. We reserve the right to change the locomotive and to cancel in the event of locomotive breakdown or adverse weather conditions – in which case an alternative will be offered.


**Terms and conditions for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway prize.

1. The prize is non transferable and there is not a cash alternative

2. The prize is valid for 1 adult and is for a return footplate between Grosmont and Pickering.

3. The participant must be over 16 and under 70 years of age.

4. The NYMR will liaise with the prize winner to agree a mutually suitable date.

5. The participant needs to be physically fit and able to climb a vertical ladder some 5 to 6 feet from an uneven surface, should the need arise.

6. The NYMR operates a strict zero tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol on the footplate. All participant of a foot plate trip must also adhere to this policy, anyone suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be denied access to the footplate. No alternative date will be offered, the participant will be asked to sign on duty to this effect.

7. Participants must wear suitable clothes for the experience, full length trousers a long sleeved shirt or jumper and stout footwear. They should be in natural fibres such as cotton as synthetic material may melt in the high temperatures.

8. We cannot guarantee a particular locomotive will be running on the day.


Send your blind bid to enter our auction

TO ENTER our auction, email your blind bid to afghanappealauction@thepress.co.uk or write to: Afghanistan Once-in-a-lifetime Appeal, CO Mike Laycock, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York Y01 5YN.

State clearly the amount you are bidding and the treat you are bidding for, and also give your full name, address, daytime and evening contact numbers and email address.

Those placing the highest bid for each treat by the deadline of noon on Friday, April 4, will be contacted for verification purposes and then put in touch with the organisation offering the treat to arrange details.

Payments will be made by successful bidders to the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal, details of which will be given to the successful bidder.

Responsibility for the provision of each lot rests with the provider. Successful bidders are subject to the terms and restrictions of all experiences.

General terms: Each auction lot goes to the highest bidder. There is no reserve price. Lots are sold as described and, unless provided in the course of the seller’s business, they are provided on a private sale basis.

No other representations or warranties are given as to the quality or suitability of the items except those stipulated by law. The Press is the auctioneer and as such acts only as the agent for the seller.

Once you place your bid you are immediately liable to pay on demand if your bid is accepted by The Press as the highest offer.

You are additionally liable for any applicable VAT on a business sale.

The Press makes no charge either to seller or buyer for its services as auctioneer. Your contract is with the seller, not The Press, which has no liability for the lots.

All payments, inquiries or complaints must be made to the seller. You cannot assign or otherwise pass on to anyone else your obligations under your contract with the seller.

Our thanks to all the organisations and individuals who have offered prizes for our auction.