A young victim of the Grenfell Tower fire will live on in the name of a character in an upcoming trilogy by Philip Pullman, following a fundraising campaign by authors.
The His Dark Materials author invited people to bid for the naming as part of the Authors for Grenfell Tower auction, raising money for the British Red Cross' relief fund for those affected by the tragedy.
One bidder was former teacher James Clement, who taught 16-year-old Nur Huda el-Wahabi, believed to have died in the fire along with her family, parents Abdul Aziz and Fouzia, and siblings Yasin, 21, and Mehdi, 8.
Clement initially bid £1,500 to have the character in the second book of the forthcoming series, The Book of Dust, named after Nur Huda and, instead of making their own separate bids, well-wishers and authors are putting money behind his attempt to immortalise his former pupil. Bidding on Pullman's lot is still underway but it looks increasingly likely that Clement will win, as no rival bids have yet been made.
"I expect this will go for a lot more (and I hope it does), but here goes: £1500. If this is still the leading bid on Tuesday, I'd like to call the character Nur Huda el-Wahabi," Clement wrote in a moving post alongside his bid.
"The real Nur Huda was an ex-pupil of mine who lived in Grenfell Tower and didn’t make it out of the building that night. A life that was so full of promise has been cut short in the most terrible way. As well as raising some money, this would mean her name would live on. Plus Nur Huda is a pretty cool name for a character."
Evidently moved by Clement's post, other bidders and authors quickly began donating money to his offer. One Day author David Nicholls and Patrick Ness, author of A Monster Calls, have backed the bid, along with Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and TV presenter Richard Osman, who both added £1,000.
Bidding on the lot had surpassed £17,000 at the time of writing and it seems certain to continue growing before it closes at 8pm on Tuesday (27th). Other items being auctioned for the cause include afternoon tea with David Walliams, a signed Stanley Tucci cookbook, a photoshoot with photographer Rankin and signed copies of Lauren Graham's memoir.
"This book will follow the first part of The Book of Dust, La Belle Sauvage, which will be published in October this year," Pullman wrote on the lot description page. "The second part (not yet titled) will follow next year. The right to name a character doesn’t guarantee that he or she will be good, bad, beautiful or otherwise, but it will be a speaking role with a part to play in the plot."
Good, bad, beautiful or otherwise, it's a pretty cool way to be remembered.