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Times and Indy writers up for grabs in charity auction

LONDON - 'Experiences' with journalists from The Times have gone up for auction on eBay today, among them a champagne reception with editor Robert Thomson, with proceeds to go to charity.

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The editor's champagne reception, with a tour of News International's printing presses, is open to five winners. At the time of writing, it had attracted only one bid at £1, but the bidding is open for 10 days.

A day in Parliament with commentator Matthew Parris is expected to attract serious bidding -- the same offer last year raised £10,000.

Other auctions on offer include a day at the Badminton Horse Trials with sports journalist Simon Barnes, a day out with a Times photographer, and a £500 Armani makeover with The Times Magazine's style director Tina Gaudoin. To see the auctions, visit Times Online.

As its charities, The Times has chosen: Street Child Africa; Rukba, which helps older people on low incomes to maintain their independence; and SMA Trust, which is on the cusp of finding a cure for a spinal disease that cripples children.

Over at The Independent, which also introduced the auction idea last year, there are 39 lots to choose from, including number 13, a ramble with a possibly jet-lagged Janet Street-Porter, which went for £1,250 last year. Number 1 is lunch with editor Simon Kelner at The Ivy. Bidding runs until December 23.

The paper's Green Shoots charity appeal is raising money for: WaterAid; Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conversation, which is working in Namibia; and Send a Cow, which provides cattle to East African families.

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