Bill Oddie’s birdwatching boots walk off charity rostrum

PUBLISHED: 17:50 26 October 2011

Birdwatcher and broadcaster Bill Oddie with his trusted old boots at the shoe auction.

Birdwatcher and broadcaster Bill Oddie with his trusted old boots at the shoe auction.


Bill Oddie’s tired old boots trampled all over Hollywood A-listers’ high heels and shiny brogues at a charity shoe auction.

While Hampstead comedian Ricky Gervais had to settle for a paltry £78.50 for his black leather shoes, birdwatcher and broadcaster Oddie’s worn-out boots fetched a staggering £350.

Along with other famous faces, they had donated their old shoes to raise money impoverished children.

Oddie, patron of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said of his boots: “I was wearing them when I saw my first penduline tits in Israel, and when I trod in a cow pat in Arizona while pursuing a road runner.

“They have provided a home for leeches in the Sri Lankan rainforest, for a tarantula in Trinidad, and for a gecko in Spain.

“I considered wearing them with an anorak and woolly hat when I went to Buckingham Palace to collect my OBE, to give the Queen a clue as to what I did.

“Unfortunately the guards wouldn’t let me in carrying binoculars or my Swiss Army knife. I had to change into my slippers and borrow a tail coat from a butler.”

Shoes from Hampstead and Highgate’s great and good - including Simon Pegg, Jamie Oliver and Esther Rantzen - helped raise a total of £20,000 at two auctions organised by a former show business journalist from Highgate.

Amy Hanson, who has worked for the Mail on Sunday, Grazia and Closer, collected together everything from Jeffrey Archer’s old slippers to Ben Stiller’s trainers for the big sell-off in aid of the Small Steps Project.

She said: “A lot of my life has been spent asking these people ‘What are you wearing?’. And that’s how it all started.

“I took that tabloid experience and did something a bit more productive with it.

“We had everything from Gillian Anderson’s disgusting flip flops, which actually went for loads, to big names like Billy Murray and Jason Donovan, who didn’t sell that well.

“It’s interesting to find out the difference between who you think is popular and who is really popular.”

She held one live auction and an online eBay sale for the charity, which provides children and families who live or work on municipal rubbish dumps and landfill sites with shoes and aid.

Footballer Steven Gerrard’s boots topped the bidding at £1,335 - with the price pushed up by £100 every second in the closing minute of the online auction.

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