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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 12:03 GMT
Neeson auction rallies Hollywood stars
Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is a special patron for UNICEF Ireland
An auction, spearheaded by Irish actor Liam Neeson to raise money for the charity UNICEF, is expected to raise millions for aids sufferers in Africa.

The online part of the Sothebys' auction, which has attracted the attention of hundreds of celebrities, begins on 15 February.

Neeson, who is a special patron of UNICEF, became involved in the Movie Action for Children project when he learned that a $4 course of drugs could reduce the risk of a mother passing on the HIV virus to her baby.

The Ballymena born star will auction the lightsaber used in Star Wars:The Phantom Menace while Mel Gibson will offer the sword from the film Braveheart.

U2 lead singer Bono
Bono's wraparound glasses will go for auction

Other donations include Julia Roberts' wedding dress from Runaway Bride and the script of Titanic.

Music stars have also lent a hand. A coat belonging to Michael Jackson as well as Bono's wraparound shades will go under the hammer.

Liam Neeson said: "I am genuinely stunned and humbled by the generosity of my colleagues in the business.

"Many have donated items they intended to keep forever.

"These really are pieces that money can't buy, and I'm delighted that everyone has rallied round for such a good cause."

Bidding from home

Maura Quinn, UNICEF's executive director in Ireland, said: "We need to remember that behind all of the AIDS statistics there are human stories and personal tragedies.

Many have donated items they intended to keep forever

Liam Neeson

"The huge generosity of the film business will actually allow us to save lives - no question about it."

Sotheby's has agreed to waive their commission for both the live and online auctions.

An exhibition of the items donated will take place at Sotheby's in London from February 20 to 22, and at Sotheby's in New York from March 3 to 6.

The online auction will enable film fans from around the world to bid for their favourite pieces from the comfort of their home or office.

Interested bidders have been advised to register on the Sothebys internet site.

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13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Neeson auctions Jedi lightsabre
15 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Neeson headlines Star Wars premier
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