Auction in memory of Magnus Magnusson

The late Mamie and Magnus Magnusson
The late Mamie and Magnus Magnusson

Tribute has been paid to everyone who helped to support a fundraising auction and book sale in memory of TV quizmaster and scholar Magnus Magnusson.

A treasure trove of items belonging to the former host of Mastermind was sold - raising nearly £2,000 for The Balmore Trust.

Magnus was a firm supporter of the Trust’s work to help projects at home and abroad.

Special thanks have been given to East Dunbartonshire Provost Una Walker - who provided the venue - and Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers.

Provost Walker said, “I am delighted the event was such a success and I was only too happy to lend my support to such a wonderful initiative.

“It was an excellent event at Milngavie Town Hall and I’m pleased to hear that significant funds have been raised for The Balmore ust and its amazing work.”

Magnus’ daughter Sally Magnusson - a broadcaster and author in her own right - was also at the auction on 15 November. There was a viewing the night before and books were sold on both dates.

Sally said, “I’m delighted that the auction and book sale went so well. I know The Balmore Trust will use the proceeds well. And I love the thought that so many of the books and artefacts cherished by my father will now enjoy a revitalised life in other homes.”

Magnus Magnusson presented BBC TV’s ‘Mastermind’ for 25 years, as well as being a respected author and journalist. He passed away in January 2007, aged 77.

Auction lots included a host of Magnus Magnusson memorabilia and items from his library with personal inscriptions. They included ‘Mastermind’ rarities such as a cut-class replica of the famous chair, items presented to him on various occasions and other treasures including a hip-flask, toby jug and pipes.

All proceeds have gone to The Balmore Trust - a pioneering charity which has been helping to champion Fairtrade for more than 30 years from The Balmore Coach House.

Mr Magnusson and his wife Mamie were near neighbours of Balmore Trust chairman John Riches and his wife, Nena. Mamie was the Trust?s first patron and spoke at the opening of The Coach House in 1980.

Mr Riches said, “Things all went smoothly and the auctioneers did a great job. We even sold some items - including the toby jug - by telephone, which was all very exciting.

“There was a lot of local interest, with people who had known the Magnussons buying gifts for their children.

“The Trust is absolutely delighted that we have this further generous contribution from the Magnusson family to the work which we do in Glasgow and overseas.

“Having had their support and backing over the years has made a great difference to the Trust, which has always relied on local support and ideas.”

On the day, Sally spoke of her father’s passion for reading - he could never throw any book away - and his enthusiasm for supporting local community initiatives like The Balmore Trust, which was started by a local discussion group. She urged people to visit The Balmore Coach House to buy their Christmas cards and presents.

The Trust receives most of its funds from The Coach House, which is mostly staffed by volunteers and is particularly busy at this time of the year, with fairly-traded crafts and speciality foods from home and abroad making ideal Christmas presents.

East Dunbartonshire Council will soon be celebrating its 10th anniversary of supporting fair trade and provides assistance to a number of community groups - including The Coach House.

Mr Riches said, “All Trust projects are small-scale projects with which we have close personal contact. The Trust is run on a voluntary basis and running costs are minimal. A third of grants go to home projects, two-thirds overseas.

“Last year our secretary visited the Child in Need project in Kolkata, which works with mothers and babies, and specialises in ensuring that babies are properly nourished during their early years.

“I’m going to Myanmar in December to visit a project with which we have been associated since 1990. The project - run by a former Glasgow University student - is based in the Chin Hills and runs a school and a farm which is used for improving local agriculture and replanting devastated forest areas.”