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5 October 2011

Sir Richard Branson throws weight behind genocide prevention group

The Virgin billionare has donated a week on Necker Island, his private resort, to Aegis.

By Sarah-Jane Sherwood

Sir Richard Branson has personally donated a week for two on Necker Island to an auction benefitting genocide prevention charity the Aegis Trust. The prize will be introduced by Clive Owen at an exclusive event at Royal Windsor Racecourse on 10 October hosted by Heloise Agelou, a 24-year-old Parisian socialite and founder of racehorse management company, Hagelou, working in partnership with International Thoroughbred Consultants (ITC).

An auction site has been launched to allow bidders around the world to take part in the auction, which will also feature some exceptional fine art. Pieces going in the auction include an original sculpture by Salvador Dali and an egg designed by Sarah Fabergé, granddaughter of the great Carl Fabergé. In the tradition of the Fabergé family, who famously crafted these coveted pieces for the Tzars of Imperial Russia, there will be a unique surprise in the egg; a horse and jockey which can be enameled in colours specified by the winning bidder.

“I’m immensely proud to be an ambassador for Aegis,” says Clive Owen, who last year visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, established by the Aegis Trust, to pay tribute to the victims of the 1994 genocide and to see how Aegis is helping widows and orphans there today. “I’ve seen how it touches and transforms people’s lives, but I’ve also seen just how much more there is to do. The future is in the hands of the next generation, and Aegis provides the tools they need to help prevent genocide happening again. So Aegis needs all the help we can offer.”

Aegis, which last year helped to secure a change in UK law to close loopholes on genocide suspects entering or living in Britain, works to prevent genocide through education, campaigning, providing evidence-based advice for policy makers and support for international justice.

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Aegis CEO, Dr James Smith, commented, “We are thrilled Sir Richard Branson has thrown his weight behind the Aegis Trust with this generous and wonderful prize, which is certain to attract huge interest for a truly once in a lifetime visit to Necker Island.”

Heloise Agelou added, “I am thrilled to be hosting this event for the Aegis Trust, our guests are very excited about bidding for this outstanding prize and I am sure it will raise substantial, vital funds the charity which I’m very fond of and keen to support due to their amazing work.”

Sarah-Jane Sherwood is a freelance writer, she grew up in South Africa at the end of the Apartheid and has written for the Telegraph, the Guardian and a number of trade and consumer titles.