BEALES and the Jigsaw Appeal are offering collectors a unique opportunity to own a little piece of history - and help raise £1 million to improve and extend the Royal Bournemouth Hospital's cancer and blood disorders unit.

The store, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, has donated a commemorative Beanie Bear and boxed set of two vans for auction on the eBay website.

The bear is one of only 5,000 "Nigels" manufactured exclusively for Beales.

Named after non-executive director Nigel Beale, they have been on sale for £5.99 in the store's branches, with one customer snapping up 100.

But the bear in the Jigsaw auction has the added value of including a rare signature from Ty Warner, the reclusive US billionaire who made his fortune from the highly collectable Beanie Baby plush toys.

The Beales vans are also a limited edition, originally sold for £19.99 through the shops.

The set on sale includes a certificate signed by Nigel Beale, the only member of the Beale family still on the board.

Marcello Rossi, toy buyer for Beales, said: "The last time Beales had these vehicles produced was in the 1970s and they now sell for £700 to £800."

  • For more details of the appeal, see the links below or ring the fundraising office on 01202 704060.