THE DIMINUTIVE clay hero Morph - sidekick to the late artist Tony Hart - is to be auctioned off for charity.

Morph was originally created in 1977 by Aardman Animations’ co-founder Peter Lord, who went on to direct and produce animated classics such as Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.

The character went on to become one of the most recognisable characters from children’s television in the late 1970s and 1980s and has now been brought back to television screens with a new show on CBBC.

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Peter Lord will now recreate his original character in front of a live audience at Bootham School in York on Wednesday, June 7 and it will be auctioned off on the same night in aid of the University of York’s mental health support.

The animator is a graduate of the university.

Chairman of the Leyburn-based auction house Tennants, Rodney Tennant, has been invited to auction off Morph on the night.

It is one of the highlights of the 2017 York Festival of Ideas, a thirteen-day event which starts on June 6 and celebrates ideas, innovation and ingenuity, with more than 150 free to enter events taking place around York.

Rodney Tennant said: “We are delighted to be supporting York Festival of Ideas and to auction this unique model. Morph is a much loved character and we expect a version created live, and signed by Peter to attract serious interest from collectors, as well as those keen to support a good cause”.

Joan Concannon, director of York Festival of Ideas, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Tennants for the auction of Morph.

“The auction will provide further fun and excitement at the event and we are looking forward to raising much needed funds for the University.

"As we expect interest to be so high, we have organised online bidding for those who can’t attend”.

The event starts at 6pm and places are limited. To book tickets or bid online visit; yorkfestivalofideas.com/2017