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Charity begins at home

It’s not every day you get to ship a pair of Ed Sheeran’s underpants.

Steve Sleigh and his team at MBE Colchester work with a large number of auction houses and salerooms in East Anglia, handling hundreds – if not thousands – of lots every year.  But although Steve is well seasoned in collecting, packing and shipping a huge range of items to buyers all over the globe, even he had to admit that it’s not every day he gets to ship a pair of superstar singer Ed Sheeran’s underpants.  

The boxers were part of a sale of over 300 of Ed’s personal effects, donated by the star and his family to raise money for Zest – a charity that supports teens and young adults living with progressive and terminal illnesses.

The sale was handled by auctioneers Bishop & Miller in Stowmarket – just a few miles from Framlingham, where Ed was brought up and went to school.  Bishop & Miller worked in partnership with Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, with all the proceeds going to the charity, and each lot came with a Bishop & Miller signed certificate of authenticity.


The Ed Sheeran collection was part of a fascinating Music and Memorabilia sale held in early November.  Highlights from the star’s belongings ranged from sunglasses, hats, T-shirts and trainers – all worn by Ed himself, to curios that included his insect collection and various Lego models.  

As you’d expect, there were also lots of music-related items, from a box of guitar picks to various music stands, and one lucky bidder bagged themselves Ed’s custom-made acoustic guitar, which sold for £10,200.

Steve and his colleagues have provided shipping services for Bishop & Miller for a number of years, and deal with them on a regular basis.  Auction house delivery is one of MBE Colchester’s busiest services and, as Steve explains, one of the fastest-growing:  

“We are one of the biggest auction shippers in the MBE network – partly because there are a lot of auction houses in East Anglia, and partly because we travel some way to get to them and offer a tailored service they know they can rely on.

From Steve’s point of view, despatching the Ed Sheeran collection to bidders was pretty straightforward:  “Whether it’s pants or plectrums, after 17 years doing auction shipping we’re pretty good at getting any item where it needs to go,” he says, “and of course we take extra care to provide bespoke packing for each item to ensure it arrives safe and sound with its new owner.

“I know the sale raised a lot of money for a great cause, and we’re delighted to have been part of that.”

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