Giving Tuesday partners Lepra UK talk about one of this year’s most imaginative #GivingTuesday campaigns.

British showbiz and sports stars turn Giving Tuesday into “Giving Shoesday”

A glittering cast of British screen and sports celebrities have put up their favourite footwear for a novel charity auction for one of the world’s leading leprosy charities, Lepra. 

For Giving Tuesday, Lepra, whose patron is Her Majesty the Queen, has attracted shoe donations from a star-studded line-up. They include Jo Brand, Martin Clunes OBE, Dame Judi Dench, David Flatman, Colin Jackson CBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, Dame Helen Mirren, Dermot O’Leary and Sir Tony Robinson.  

Why leprosy?

Many people are unaware that leprosy still exists, and yet for over 7 million people across the world it causes damage to their health, livelihoods and futures.  

600 people are diagnosed with leprosy every day and 50 of those are children.  By raising awareness and fighting the age-old prejudice the disease carries, Lepra aims to provide early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for people affected by leprosy.

About Lepra

Established in 1924, Lepra is a UK-based charity working in India, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to change the lives of people affected by leprosy.  To find out more about their work, take a look at their website

Why footwear?

One of the main symptoms of leprosy is nerve damage, meaning people affected are unable to feel pain. This leaves them vulnerable to burns, cuts, ulcers and injuries that can potentially lead to severe damage to fingers, toes, hands and feet resulting in permanent disability. Lepra’s made-to-measure footwear, first created back in 1959, prevents further damage and injury to feet, whilst helping to restore independence and dignity.

Why is Giving Tuesday so important to Lepra?

Back in 2017, as the global day of giving increased its presence, Lepra renamed Giving Tuesday, “Giving Shoesday”. Giving Tuesday helps to shine a light on the amazing work specialist shoe technicians do and highlight how something as simple as shoes have the power to transform a life.

Last year Lepra shoe-technicians travelled over 24,000 miles and created 25,308 pairs of shoes.  A pair of custom-made shoes costs just £6 to make and yet has the power to transform a life forever.

What made Lepra choose an auction?

During their ninety-seven-year history, Lepra have delivered many auctions dating back to the 1960s. In 1979 their Ring Appeal; to raise funds for reconstructive hand surgery, received over 1,000 ring donations, including jewellery from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and other members of the Royal Family.  It raised over £80,000, the equivalent of more than £400,000 today!

The Giving Shoesday auction line-up includes shoe donations from Dame Judi Dench, who played ‘M’ in the James Bond franchise.  She has donated a pair of the size 5 Hobbs black suede court shoes (with a signed photograph) that would turn the head of any MI6 boss. Ex-England rugby star and TV pundit, David Flatman has donated his size 12 Asics trainers; well-used and well-travelled, they definitely belong to an active sportsman! Another donation from Sir Tony Robinson, is a pair of size 6 Karrimor hiking boots, complete with a short hand-written note. Having been worn during the filming of Time Team, they’ve definitely seen some history in the making!

The online auction, hosted by Dawson’s Auction House starts at 12.00pm on Giving Tuesday and runs until 12th December. The auction house has kindly waived their selling fee meaning that 100% of the sale price will go to Lepra.  Click here to place a bid.

Commenting on the auction, Helen Rackham Director of Fundraising for Lepra, said:

“Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases; curable with a course of antibiotics yet devastating if left undiagnosed. Providing custom-made shoes is life-changing for people affected by leprosy; people who face extreme prejudice and discrimination. I am grateful that so many much-admired and recognised personalities have rallied to our cause by supporting our Shoesday event. With so many amazing charitable causes to support, it can be hard to capture the attention of the general public, particularly during a global pandemic, when most people think leprosy no longer exists!”

How can people get involved?

  • Firstly, BID in the auction, or DONATE on Giving Tuesday– every single penny you can give makes a difference.
  • Secondly, sign up to hear more about Lepra’s transformational work and become part of this amazing story. You can take follow them on social media; @LepraUK on Twitter, @Lepra on Facebook and @leprauk on Instagram.
  • Watch and share 2 videos around Giving Tuesday and Lepra’s footwear projects, which can be found here and here

Feeling inspired? Sign up as a Giving Tuesday partner here