iPhone 5 launch camp-out at Apple store by Swanley businessman Ryan Williams raises charity cash
WHILE some iFans joined the queue to buy the new handset at Bluewater from 2am, Friday morning saw the end of a very long wait for one iManiac from Swanley.
Ryan Williams, of Petham Court Cottages, spent a whole week camping outside Britain’s flagship Apple store in Covent Garden in a bid to raise cash for Cancer Research.
The IT businessman, who was joined by his 19-year-old friend Peter King in the bizarre charity stunt, said the atmosphere was "surreal" when he finally got his hands on the £530 phone.
But despite queuing for 168 hours, the 22-year-old is now without Britain’s most-wanted gadget.
He has already sold one on eBay for £1,070 - with all proceeds going to Cancer Research - while the other was bought on behalf of ex-Big Brother Contestant Michael Cheshire.
Each customer could only buy two handsets but Ryan agreed to buy the second for Michael after he approached them with a blow up bed and tent as an incentive.
The small business owner, who has a close friend battling bowel cancer and whose companion Peter lost his mother to the disease three-years ago, does have an iPhone 5 on order but could be waiting four weeks for it.
He said: "The queue was just horrendous, it was like a zoo. I have kind of lost my voice due to shouting.
"It was such a surreal experience when the shop opened. When I came out it was just so noisy."
The pair were fed and watered by sympathetic food outlets and passers by having turned up with no money or shelter on the night of September 14.
They have raised more than £2,000 so far, a chunk of which came from the editor of the Italian edition of tech magazine Wired, who bought Peter's place in the queue for 500 Euros and a £50 note.
Meanwhile, thousands of gadget fans flocked to Bluewater, where the Apple store opened two-hours earlier than normal at 8am.
Forming the largest ever queue for an Apple product at the Greenhithe shopping centre, some even lined the upper Guildhall in their sleeping bags.
Bluewater general manager Robert Goodman said: "Bluewater works closely with Apple to make an event of new product launches, which are always a great experience for guests.
"That today has created a new record in terms of the number of people is a testament to both the unique appeal of the Apple brand and Bluewater's reputation as the place to buy the latest and greatest products."
The phone is already guaranteed to be a best-seller, with Apple reporting pre-orders around the world of two million in just 24 hours and many customers not expected to receive theirs until October.
You can donate to Ryan and Peter's cause at justgiving.com/iphone5cancerresearch