Penzance Charity Art Auction Raises £13,400 for Refugees

By Hazel Murray, The Cornishman, November 27th, 2015.

The event, which was held on Friday at the Queens Hotel in Penzance, was organised by volunteers from across West Cornwall to raise money for charities such as locally-based Refugee Aid and medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Following the success of the event, Refugee Aid founder and event organiser Tamzin Wood said: “It means the world to Refugee Aid. It means we can send people out to volunteer, because although people have been sending thousands of donations, which is great, so many volunteers and workers are needed on the ground.

“Now we can afford to send people there to help.”

During the auction, 191 pieces of artwork, donated by numerous artists from across the South West, were bid on and sold. Prior to the event, an online auction on Facebook was also held in order to allow people to bid before Friday evening.

Online organiser Holly Whitelaw said: “Getting it online, I was inspired by the way Facebook works. It’s been really beneficial and has worked incredibly well; I am just amazed I had people from all over the world, including Syria, Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia and Pakistan all bidding on the pieces.”

“Everyone was so generous with their time and donating the paintings, and even the buyers were paying above the odds just to support the cause.”

During the auction, which attracted around 200 members of the community, reputed auctioneer David Lay sold the pieces with locally renowned artist Jonty Henshall on hand to help – in a purple bowler hat.

Jonty, who also donated his own artwork, said: “There’s always a worry that people won’t turn up, but it was such a community thing because of all the local artists helping. “The Queens Hotel was brilliant – we were complete amateurs really.”

“People just said they had a really good time – which may seem odd considering the subject, but it was a really good night. We’re still on a buzz even a week later.”

On Saturday evening, Refugee Aid will be hosting a one-night-only gig at the Ritz in Penzance with locally-loved Pondlife, who have reformed for the fundraiser.

Tickets are selling fast for the Penwith-loved ska band, with tickets being sold online and in local Penzance shops Fishboy and The Music Box.

Those attending the gig are asked if they can bring donations such as torches, socks, hats and gloves, and if unable to attend the gig but still wishing to donate, can be dropped off at the Ritz foyer on the night.

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