Special Olympics GB has launched the BID2Give Online Auction in a bid to end an "exceptionally difficult" year on a high ©Special Olympics GB

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB) chief executive Michelle Carney has revealed the non-profit organisation "lost millions" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is urging people to take part in its online auction.

Carney said this year had been "exceptionally difficult" for Special Olympics GB which is considered the largest provider of year-round sports coaching and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

But Carney is hoping to finish 2020 on a high after launching the first BID2Give Online Auction to raise much-needed funds.

Centre Court tickets and hospitality at next year’s Wimbledon, VIP access to the 2021 Tour de France – including a bird’s eye view of the race courtesy of a helicopter ride - and an Abbey Road 50th anniversary boxset signed by Sir Paul McCartney are among the auction lots.

The auction is set to run from today until December 13 with all money raised helping Special Olympics GB transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

"The work of Special Olympics GB currently receives no central Government funding, and this year has been exceptionally difficult for not only our organisation but for our athletes," said Carney.

"In fundraising terms alone, we calculate Special Olympics GB has lost millions as a direct result of the COVID crisis.

Centre Court tickets at next year's Wimbledon are among the auction lots ©Getty Images
Centre Court tickets at next year's Wimbledon are among the auction lots ©Getty Images

"As for our athletes, if people think lockdown has been hard for them this year, that is just a small taste of what normal life is like for our athletes outside of COVID.

"By taking part in this auction, not only will the winning bidders secure the most incredible things, but they will also be helping the important work of Special Olympics GB to continue – which to our teams of athletes, volunteers and staff – is priceless."

Special Olympics GB claim there are an estimated 1.5 million people with an intellectual disability in the UK, many of whom experience the worst forms of discrimination and bullying.

The organisation - which has more than 120 inclusive clubs covering 28 sports across England, Scotland and Wales - also believe its weekly activities increase confidence, realise potential and develop physical fitness and mental well-being.

Paul Richardson, chair of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees added: "We are delighted to be able to launch our very first Special Olympics GB BID2GIVE Online Auction and are hugely grateful to the many organisations and businesses who have generously donated the most amazing items.

"Special thanks also to the members of the Special Olympics GB Advisory Board, who have gone above and beyond pulling this auction together.

"Now more than ever, Special Olympics GB needs support so please take a look, share this widely and help us get those bids coming in."