IT’S NOT often you see people spending £3,700 on “thin air”.

But last Thursday night, the Berkeley Square silver merchant Jim Williams raised his hand to bid on nothing at all to take the Olivia’s Vision auction to the “nice round number” of £80,000.

The Arian Silver Corporation’s “huge mining character” was bidding at the fundraiser organised by Memery Crystal lawyer Nick Davis, who received the devastating news in 2009 that his daughter Olivia was going blind from the incurable disease uveitis.

“We determined when Olivia was diagnosed that some good would come out of our awful experience,” said Davis, who drew on his contacts to stage a night of comedy for 300 guests including Merchant Securities director Lindsay Mair and Luiri Gold chairman Melissa Sturgess at the Four Seasons on Park Lane.

Lord Harris of Peckham, a board member of Arsenal FC, donated two Diamond Club tickets; Gemfields gave an emerald worth £10,000 as the night’s raffle prize, won by a guest on the Alethia Capital table; and Richard Griffiths, the founder-director of Alethia Capital, auctioned off his chalet in Courcheval for £60,000 for two weeks, split between Gulf Keystone’s chairman Todd Kozel and Strand Hanson’s CEO Simon Raggett.

Boosted by a private donation by Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green, the evening raised £190,000: enough to cover the cost of the first uveitis research fellowship through the Royal College of Ophthamologists.

“We were very touched by the support we received from the Aim, advisory and natural resources communities, especially in these difficult times,” said Davis, who received a further boost this morning when the London Stock Exchange Group Foundation confirmed Olivia’s Vision as its latest beneficiary charity.

GOOD TO see so many business names on the shortlist for Red magazine’s Red Hot Women awards, which will be held at the St Pancras Hotel on Wednesday 23 November in association with Calvin Klein’s Euphoria.

On the shortlist in the fashion category are Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and Jimmy Choo founder and CEO Tamara Mellon, while Dr Ana Armstrong, who co-founded the boutique fund manager Armstrong Investment Managers in 2009, is a contender for the Start-up award.

The digital world is represented by AOL Europe’s senior vice president of sales and operations Kate Burns.