Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 16:26 UK

Bidder to name next McNab villain

Andy McNab in silhouette
Former SAS man Andy McNab refuses to be identified in photographs

The villain in author Andy McNab's next novel will be named by a charity bidder who has paid 10,000 for the privilege.

The former SAS man auctioned off the right to name the character at a gala dinner in London which raised 61,700 for the Shackleton Foundation charity.

The charity has been set up in memory of Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton to support projects with the adventurer's "pioneering spirit".

A night's camping with adventurer Bear Grylls also sold for 6,500.

Shackleton has always been a hero of mine and I think the foundation's mission to identify similarly inspiring leaders in today's world is excellent
Andy McNab

The Shackleton Foundation will provide a bursary fund "for inspirational leaders determined to make a difference in their field, in particular to the less advantaged".

McNab, who refuses to be pictured, said: "Shackleton has always been a hero of mine and I think the foundation's mission to identify similarly inspiring leaders in today's world is excellent."

The winner, whose identity is not known, has yet to provide the name for McNab's villain.

Centenary expedition

The foundation's head of fundraising, David Cornell, paid tribute to the generosity of those who had donated prizes and bid for them.

"It shows how important many of us believe it is to acknowledge the lasting legacy of Shackleton and reward future leaders, we hope, of the generations to come."

Later this year, six of Shackleton's descendants will attempt to complete his failed Nimrod expedition to the South Pole.

They will set off exactly 100 years after Shackleton's ill-fated expedition began and follow the same 900-mile, 80-day route.

He and his crew were forced to turn back when they were 97 miles away from the South Pole on 9 January 1909 because of icy blizzards and insufficient rations.




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