A Ransomes Marquis 51 has been claimed at this year's Ultimate Charity Auction (previously Sir Bobby Robson Auction). The top-of-the-range mower was donated by Ransomes, the Suffolk-based manufacturer of turf equipment, and Sheila and Brian Diver of Ely placed the highest bid. The mower was presented to the winning couple at Ransomes' European manufacturing facility in Ipswich.
The annual auction was held near Bury St. Edmunds and, this year, more than £106,000 was raised for charities including In the Game - the League Managers Association; Sarcoma UK; GeeWizz charitable foundation; and the My WiSH Charity supporting West Suffolk Hospital. The current total from the five auctions held over the years currently stands at more than £980,000.
Commenting on the bidding process of the Ransomes mower, Sheila said: "It was a very exciting evening; Brian had his heart set on the mower, so we entered a bidding war, and when the lot had ended and we saw that we had won, we were ecstatic! The auction supports a fantastic cause, and it was a brilliant night for all involved."
Brian explained the nostalgia behind winning the mower; he said: "I used to work on a farm where we used threshing tackle manufactured by Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies. They were fine ploughs, and I am thoroughly looking forward to using the Ransomes mower which I have heard is as high quality as the ploughs were years ago!"
"I wanted the mower because I know that Ransomes mowers are used on some of the finest surfaces in the world, including prestigious football pitches, bowling greens and tennis courts. Sheila and I have quite a bit of land to maintain, and I was looking for a mower that could provide a really neat finish on the smaller lawn that we have. I am delighted that we have the Ransomes mower, and I can't wait to use it come spring."
Other donated items included a drum kit donated and signed by Suffolk-born singer Ed Sheeran. The next Ultimate Charity Auction is due to take place in October 2017.