A WELL-KNOWN figure in Cornish cricket has set up a star-studded charity auction following a testing period in his personal life.

Mustafa Shaikh, who works for Cornwall Cricket Board as the cricket centre manager and school and club development officer (mid Cornwall) based at Truro College, had the idea for the auction after his grandson Freddie was born prematurely last year.

Thankfully, Freddie is now thriving but still receiving treatment from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

As a gesture of appreciation for the Plymouth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, who supported Mustafa and his family throughout their ordeal, he set up the auction in association with the Keep Me Close appeal, a fundraising appeal under the umbrella of Plymouth Hospitals Charity, and the Cornwall Cricket Trust.

The auction will coincide with Freddie's first birthday on December 8, 2020.

"It was about this time last year that I became grandad to Freddie born on December 8, 2019 – the little man arrived 15 weeks prematurely," Mustafa said.

"As you can imagine all of the family went through a difficult time. As a way of showing my appreciation to my work colleagues at Cornwall Cricket for helping me through this period, and also knowing cricket everywhere in the county had taken a hit from the pandemic and that the future of the game in some communities maybe challenging next year, I felt I needed to do something to help safeguard the beautiful game.

"I also wanted to say a huge thanks to the Plymouth Hospital (Derriford) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team; but in particular the Keep Me Close charity that provided such wonderful care and support to my family to be near Freddie at such a crucial time in his life.

"What colleagues are doing in the NHS in these surreal times is simply amazing and I cannot thank them enough. I came up with the idea of an online auction combining my love of family and my passion for cricket in collaboration with Cornwall Cricket Trust and the Plymouth Hospital Charity to raise money to celebrate Freddie's first birthday on December 8, 2020."

Mustafa enlisted the support of the wider cricket family across the south west (having worked in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall for most of his teaching and cricket development career) and was overwhelmed by the donations from the players, family, friends and businesses.

Donations currently include a Somerset CCC training top and signed mini bats from England cricketer Jos Buttler, a Somerset T20 shirt from Cornwall's own cricketing hero Lewis Goldsworthy and an A4 colour signed frame photo from Cornish rugby star Jack Nowell.

Full details of these items will be posted on the Cornwall Cricket Trust website (www.cornwallcrickettrust.co.uk).

These items will be set up on an eBay style auction site which will go live on Saturday, November 28 at 7pm via the Trust's website.

The auction will end ten days later on December 8 at 7pm – on Freddie's first birthday.

Denise Gladwell, Chair of Cornwall Cricket Trust, said: ''It is lovely to think that the CCT members have this unique opportunity not only to share in Freddie's first birthday celebrations but also to raise some money for two very worthy causes.

"I do hope members will bid themselves for these superb auction items and encourage as many people they know to get bidding as well.

"Remember, all this can be done during lockdown without leaving your home which sounds perfect to me! Let's see just what we can achieve together.''

Even if people are not interested in buying anything in the auction, they can still contribute to both organisations by way of online donations.

Mustafa has an ongoing Justgiving page for the Plymouth Hospital Charity at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gulam-shaik