Saturday 24 February 2018

Teenage Grenfell victim to be immortalised in Philip Pullman book

Nearly 450 people bid for 15-year-old Nur Huda el-Wahabi to be a part of the author’s fictional world.

Teenage Grenfell victim to be immortalised in Philip Pullman book (Steve Parsons/PA)
Teenage Grenfell victim to be immortalised in Philip Pullman book (Steve Parsons/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Philip Pullman will name a character in his latest book after a teenage victim of the Grenfell fire.

Pullman was involved in the Authors For Grenfell auction campaign, which saw literary figures donating prizes to raise money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, for residents affected by the recent tragedy.

Pullman pledged the right to name a character in the second of his The Book Of Dust trilogy, a companion to the author’s His Dark Materials series.

Grenfell Tower (Frank Augstein/AP/PA)

Nur Huda el-Wahabi, 15, will be immortalised in the book after her former teacher James Clements’ initial bid on Sunday of £1,500 prompted hundreds of others to donate in her name.

Minutes before bidding closed on at 8pm on Tuesday, Authors For Grenfell said that the bid for Nur Huda was sitting at £32,138, although several other bids were made in the following moments.

The charity scheme’s organiser, Molly Ker Hawn, later said on Twitter that the winning total had reached £32,400.

Mrs Ker Hawn wrote: “This item has been won by @MrJClements and 448 other bidders, with a collective bid of £32,400. I love every one of you.”

— Molly Ker Hawn (@mollykh) June 27, 2017

Pullman responded: “Great news! Warm thanks to everyone, and I look forward to writing about Nur.”

Mr Clements also shared his gratitude, writing on the auction site: “I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our shared bid for Nur Huda.

“Whether it was £5 or £5,000, your contribution has become part of our whole team effort and I’ll be forever grateful to you. The money that you’ve donated will go to help people who have lost everything.

“The world hasn’t always seemed like a very nice place in recent times, but this whole business has demonstrated how many wonderful people there are around and how much good can be achieved if we all work together. Thank you.”

Another popular bid among the hundreds on offer was the chance to have afternoon tea at Claridge’s with Britain’s Got Talent star and children’s book author David Walliams.

The final bid made one minute before the auction closed was for £12,580.

Just over £5,000 was offered up by one competitive bidder for a photoshoot by famed photographer Rankin.

A signed copy of a Nigella Lawson book looks set to be sold for £160, while seven signed Malorie Blackman books reached £230 in the bidding.

Lots offered by authors Jacqueline Wilson, Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume reached into the hundreds.

The Grenfell Tower blaze has claimed the lives of at least 79 people.

Press Association

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