ALMOST £2,500 was raised after a series of monkey sculptures were auctioned for charity.

The event at St Hilda's Church, in Hartlepool, marked the end of the Northern Festival of Illustration.

The monkeys were auctioned off to raise money for Hartlepool Carers in an event hosted by Gary Philipson, of BBC Radio Tees.

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Almost £2,500 was raised after the Headland event had to be relocated as a result of severe weather warnings, with some of the monkeys bought by former Hartlepool residents now living all over the country.

Festival director Pat Chapman, of the Northern School of Art, said: “We hope that the addition of the community art groups over the summer and the fabulous support of those who hosted the monkeys brought a smile to some of the children of Hartlepool after the lockdowns we have all faced.

"BloomInArt did a fantastic job of coordinating alongside partners such as Do Creative, Trudy Sanderson and Liz Carter.

"Despite the weather many people viewed the monkeys in the historic church over the weekend and there was a great and enthusiastic crowd at the auction. Gary Philipson was a superb auctioneer who entertained everyone whilst really getting the bidding going.

“The Festival and school are delighted to have been able to help Hartlepool Carers through the generosity of the community and business and voluntary organisations in Hartlepool.”

The auction’s winning bids included online contributions from former Hartlepool residents now living in London and Doncaster.

During the auction Gary Philipson invited Amanda Smith, one of the artists of the Regent Garden monkey which raised £150 on the night, to explain the designs around her monkey.

She said: “I work at The Northern School of Art and Billy Cessford who created the casts of the monkeys for the trail is one of my former students. So it was a project very close to my heart.”

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