Kingston-born PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has raised $43,600 or £25,026 for the animal protection charity by auctioning herself on internet site eBay.

The price paid is more than was raised by media mogul Rupert Murdoch ($25,200) and author Stephen King ($25,100) when they did the same thing. The 56-year-old animal lover has been bought' for the day by a vegan American couple from California after 40 bids were placed for her services.

The auction had been a chance for enemies of the charity to get back at Ingrid and have her gutting fish, going out with shooting parties or working in an abattoir.

But luckily the winning bidders Sandy Boss and Gary Reamer have no such plans in mind, being committed animal-rights supporters.

Ms Newkirk previously featured in the pages of the Surrey Comet when her family left Kingston for India when she was eight. She now lives in America.