By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lonely hearts this Valentine's Day will have a unique chance to spend an evening with British actor Idris Elba after he auctioned himself off to raise money for an African girls charity.
"I'd like you to be my Valentine. That's right love, just you and me. No-one else around, just us," Elba said while sipping champagne in a video posted on website Omaze, which raises money for charities through celebrity experiences.
By donating money to charity W.E. Can Lead, members of the public are eligible to win a "candlelit meal" with the actor, according to Omaze.
Proceeds from the auction will help finance the charity's aim of offering mentorship, educational support and leadership skills to teenaged girls in Sierra Leone.
Elba, best known for his role in U.S. television series "The Wire", was last year named as one of the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars.
The actor, whose father is from Sierra Leone, is one of the frontrunners to be cast as the next James Bond, the fictional British spy movie franchise.
Isha Sesay, founder of W.E. Can Lead, said Elba was a "good sport" for being involved, and that the response to the campaign had so far been overwhelming.
"Idris and I were messaging earlier on and I said, 'I think we may have a female stampede on our hands,'" she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.
"He said, 'As long as we raise money.' He's completely committed. He was a complete sweetheart."
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)