More than £250,000 raised for charity as Big Sleuth bears are auctioned off
Around £257,000 was raised in aid of charity as ninety-one colourful bears were auctioned off in un-bearlievable style.
The model sculptures were from the Big Sleuth art trail, which has taken place in parts of the Black Country and Birmingham over the summer.
Hundreds packed into the venue at Millennium Point in Birmingham for the auction on Thursday night.
The highest sellers came in at £9,000 for Buzz Bear, created by Julia Allum, and Peony Passion at £8,000, created by Michelle Turton.
All money raised went towards Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Fielding's Auctioneers, based in Stourbridge, held the auction and took bids from inside the room and over the internet.
An emotional video was held at the start of the show highlighting the work the hospital does for the children.
Will Farmer, director of Fieldings, said he was overwhelmed by the amount raised.
He explained: "It was an amazing evening with such an exciting atmosphere. We had a real mixed bag of collectors, artists and the public. Some people had never been to an auction before so it got really tense at times.
"Birmingham Children's Hospital do a fantastic job. It was the outlining essence of why everyone was there.
"One of the highlight's was when the Peaky Blinders Bear was welcomed on stage by two chaps who acted out scenes from the show. They came on and pushed us out the way and brought some real entertainment to make the crowds laugh.
"To raise more than a quarter of a million pounds is overwhelming. It was a brilliant evening."
Louise McCathie, director of fundraising at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We can’t bear-lieve that after months of sleuthing fun, The Big Sleuth is coming to an end. We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the response our bears have had over the past few months and how much joy they’ve brought to tourists, residents, families and children.
“We would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of this bear-illiant project, including our wonderful artists and sponsors.
"We’re hoping kind-hearted sleuthers, including businesses and individuals, will buy the bear-utiful bears back so we can keep them in our region as a lasting memory, as well continue to make children smile by raising much-needed funds for the 90,000 children our hospital cares for each year."