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Bid for Beirut relief nudges £22,000

Published:  01 September, 2020

The Bid for Beirut fundraiser has raised close on £22,000 over the UK bank holiday weekend, with donations still coming in.

The initiative, which was organised by UK PR Madeleine Waters in the wake of the catastrophic recent explosion in the Lebanese capital, took the form of an online auction, with support exceeding expectations.

The blast compounded troubles for the Lebanese wine industry, which was already suffering from a domestic economic crisis that has worsened due to the pandemic.

Bid for Beirut offered wine lots and other experiences, such as wine dinners and tastings, with bidding taking place between Friday 28 and Monday 31 August.

Among the lots were dinner for four, donated by 67 Pall Mall with Ronan Sayburn MS and Harpers columnist  Tim Atkin MW providing the wines from their own cellars and acting as private sommeliers for the night.

There was also a Zoom tasting with Olly Smith and Susy Atkins with wines supplied by Boutinot, and a session with Natasha Hughes MW on how to taste like a Master of Wine, with wines supplied by Borough Wines.

Waters said she had been, “overwhelmed with people’s generosity”, having been moved to act by the news coming out of Lebanon – a country where she has close ties with the wine industry.

Funds raised by Bid for Beirut will go towards three causes: the re-building of Kamal Mouzawak’s Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet, Beirut Bi Aleb Zahle, a group of NGOs from the Bekaa Valley that have come together to rebuild a street in the capital; and Impact Lebanon, which distribute funds to vetted NGOs.

Several members of the trade took to social media to endorse the initiative, with Bordeaux producer Gavin Quinney tweeting:

“Distracted by the harvest but have to say that’s a fantastic effort by Madeleine @MadPRgirl. £22K raised through wine folk for #BidforBeirut. Bravo!”

Donations can still be made via the online auction website.