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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Thatcher's handbag auctioned on net
Margaret Thatcher and Cherie Blair
Bidding opens today for celebrity handbags
Handbags of the rich and famous will be auctioned over the internet to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

Baroness Thatcher, Cherie Booth and Jerry Hall have all donated a handbag in suppport of the event.


Margaret Thatcher
Baroness Thatcher donated a black handbag
The online auction on the women's interest web site handbag.com features 15 bags belonging to a host of celebrities and lasts for 10 days.

Breast Cancer Care has been chosen as the site's official charity and it will be promoting awareness of the issues surrounding the illness.

Personalities who have handed over their bags include Mo Mowlam, GMTV's Lorraine Kelly, actress Amanda Redman and former tennis star Annabel Croft.

Awareness

Each year 30,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer and 14,000 die of it.

Health campaigners say early detection is the key to saving lives and are working hard to promote awareness and encourage more women to check their breast regularly for lumps.


Cancer facts
30,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer and 14,000 die of it
Nine out of ten breast lumps are harmless, but early diagnosis is the key to saving lives
Approximately 200 UK men are diagnosed with the disease every year.

Handbag.com's head of marketing Alicen Stenner said: "We have been delighted at the response of the donors to the auction and anticipate that it will attract a lot of interest, which will help a hugely worthwhile cause."

Breast Cancer Care chief executive Samia al Qadhi said: "We are really excited about working with handbag.com.

"As well as for fundraising, the partnership with this leading web site also provides Breast Cancer Care with a platform to reach an increasing number of women online and encourage greater awareness of breast cancer and the support services that we offer."

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