Animal lover and all round philanthropist Simon Hildrey was caught short last week at a society event. Hildrey, head of marketing at Liontrust Asset Management, hosted a table at an evening of fun and fine dining at London Zoo in aid of the new lion enclosure.
With food provided by posh curry house Cinnamon Kitchen and comedian Bill Bailey kicking off the event with jokes about killing geese, it was a night to remember for innocent WSJ hacks.
On a table filled with fund managers and free-loading journalists Hildrey took Liontrust’s big-cat fandom to a new level in the silent auction.
Prizes varied from a week’s stay in a ski chalet in exclusive Verbier, to lunch with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, and a stunning pair of green tortoise cufflinks. But Hildrey had his eyes set on a bigger prize
Watched on by former-Prince Harry squeeze Chelsy Davy, Hildrey got in a bidding war for the Lion Champion package, which would give him exclusive naming rights on the first lion cub born in the new enclosure and get a private pre-opening tour of the lions’ new digs.
After a fierce battle, closet-Kylie Minogue fan Hildrey clinched the prize for a cool £12,500.
But his joy was short-lived when he tried to pay for the lot on plastic and his credit card was promptly declined. A red-faced Hildrey assures WSJ the prize is still his. But the question remains, will the new lion be called Chelsy or Kylie?