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Auction raises £3m for cancer care

An auction of rare and highly collectable items, with proceeds going to fund improvements in cancer care in Dorset, has raised an incredible £3m.

Bonhams auction robert white collection bentleyThe sale of rare and highly collectable items including cars, motorcycles and watches took place at London auction house Bonhams on Monday (19 September 2016).

The lots belgoned to Poole-born businessman Robert White, who was treated for cancer at the Dorset Cancer Centre, part of Poole Hospital. Sadly, Robert, aged 62, lost his battle in November last year.

Robert White

Before his death, Robert had resolved to support the hospital and its county-wide cancer services. Proceeds from the sale are in addition to a huge £3.5m donation already made to Poole Hospital by Mr White, after he sold his prized lifetime collection of Brough Superior vintage motorcycles to close friend Jay Leno, the US chat show king and comedian.

Among the star lots at the auction was a Bentley 4.5 litre Le Mans-style Tourer (pictured above), sold for £315,100, and a rare George Daniels Anniversary model wristwatch, one of just 35 produced and going for a world record £224,500.

Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Poole Hospital, said being part of the auction was a humbling experience.

Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Poole Hospital, attended the auction.

“Being there in the knowledge that the proceeds would make such a huge contribution to the delivery of cancer services in Dorset was an amazing opportunity,” said Debbie.

“I am delighted that the sale exceeded expectations and realised a truly exceptional sum that will benefit patients with cancer in Dorset for many years to come.

“Seeing the scale of Robert’s incredible personal collections really brought home quite what an extraordinary act of generosity he made, and on behalf of our patients, their families and staff, I would like to place on record our immense gratitude.

"I felt honoured and privileged to be part of this occasion - and so proud to be representing Poole Hospital's excellent services and wonderful staff."

Robert founded Robert White Photographic Limited in 1982 in a small shop in Poole, before growing the business into an international success, with customers from all over the world.

Describing his friend, Mr Leno said: “He didn’t feel sorry for himself or ‘woe-is-me’. He realistically faced up to his position and decided he wanted to give something back to the people in Poole Hospital who had helped him with his illness.”

  • For more on Robert White's incredible legacy, click here.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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