Props from disastrous Willy Wonka experience auctioned off to help Gaza

Palestinian charity to receive more than £2,000 from sale of backdrops at bleak 'chocolate experience'

The bleak Willy Wonka-themed children's event in Glasgow was cancelled after parents complained.
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Props from the Willy Wonka-themed “chocolate experience” that turned into a comically bleak viral sensation have been sold to raise money for a Palestinian charity.

Backdrops from the dismal children’s event in Glasgow, Scotland, were found in a bin, passed on to a record store and auctioned on eBay for more than £2,000 ($2,550).

The seller, Monorail Music, said the money would go to the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, which has embarked on two emergency missions into Gaza during Israel's war.

Michael Kasparis, a manager at the record store, said the sale was an “amazing result”.

Staff watched the online bidding “like you’d watch the end of a football game”, Mr Kasparis said.

“It was £900 and then jumped to £1,050, then one second before it closed it was £2,050 and it came through at £2,250,” he said. “We’d thought if it goes into four figures we’d be very happy so it was a pretty amazing result.”

Melanie Ward, chief executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said the charity was grateful for the donation. “We hope the winner of these golden ticket items is pleased with their purchase,” she joked.

The items included rainbow and confectionery-themed backdrops that hung forlornly in the Glasgow warehouse, where families arrived expecting a “chocolate fantasy” inspired by Roald Dahl’s eccentric sweet maker.

Instead they were met with half-hearted decorations, embarrassed Oompa-Loompas and stingy rations of sweets, causing such disappointment that the police were called, the event was abandoned and internet hilarity ensued.

Mr Kasparis said he was “slightly worried that the joke had gone but it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon”.

“I personally was a little bit worried that the auction was a bit silly for the cause but we thought if it raises money that’s the most important thing,” he said.

Updated: March 15, 2024, 11:36 AM