MUSICIANS, artists, authors, charity founders and a world-renowned sportsman were among dozens of notable people at a special book launch.

They all had one thing in common - they had all been interviewed for the Oxford Mail's sister publication, the Oxford Times' Limited Edition magazine.

Writer Sylvia Vetta released her third and final instalment of the Oxford Castaways series, which told the life stories of Oxfordshire celebrities and asked them what they would take with them to the mythical island of Oxtopia, at Oxford University's Mathematical Institute.

The event was attended by Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run the sub-four minute mile; Winnie the Witch artist Korky Paul; Sister Frances Dominica, the founder of Helen and Douglas House hospice, along with many more well-known names and faces.

Mrs Vetta, who explained the book would raise money for Sobell House hospice in Oxford, said: "They are all amazing people. I have been privileged to interview some truly inspirational people of such diversity."

Also attending the launch was Dwina Gibb, widow of the late Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, another Castaway who had paid for the book to be produced.

More than 30 interviews are featured in the final book in the series.

Mrs Vetta said: "Since the third and final instalment is being sold in aid of Sobell House I also told the story of six people who work at the hospice, asking them to reflect on this wonderful place."

One of them was social worker Chris Coutts who spoke at the event, telling of the hospice's work.

Performance poet Euton Daley, aided by the vocal talents of Amantha Edmead, gave a rousing rendition of one of his works at the event. The cover image of the book by Dorothy Megaw was auctioned for £175, and other art donated by Sir Roger's wife Moyra Bannister, Korky Paul, Joanna Harrison, John Buckley and Weimin He, can be bid on online to raise money for Sobell House.

Reverend Charlotte Bannister Parker, the first woman to be in charge of the University Church in 100 years, compered the event.

Mrs Vetta was keen to dedicate the book to the hospice in memory of her friend and Castaway Rebecca Allison, a regular volunteer at the hospice. She died last year aged 47.

Dominique Cadiou, Head of Fundraising at Sobell House, said: “We’re delighted to be chosen as the beneficiary of the latest Castaways instalment.

“The series of books are a fascinating collection of people’s lives and they help to unlock the imagination. Something many people, who are experiencing a tough time through illness, need as a way of escaping the difficulties of real life.”

Oxford Castaways 3 is published by Oxfordfolio (, price £10. See to take part in the art auction which runs until the end of the month.