Organisers of Puffins Galore! have said they were overwhelmed after nearly £100,000 was raised during an auction of some of the popular sculptures.
After 28 of the 42 puffins were privately bought – including one that has returned to Memorial Gardens in Withernsea – the remaining 14 were sold off at West Building Supplies in Bridlington on May 13.
During the auction, bidders in the room and online paid a total of £94,000 for the select puffins on display.
The highest bid was £14,200 for Beverley Nightlife, created by artist Katy Cobb and sponsored by Guest and Philips Jewellers.
Winning bidders Leszek and Fiona Piechowski were successful purchasers of Lightbulb Moment by Hannah Watson, sponsored by Boston Energy.
They said: “We love installation art, and the puffins are all so beautiful – we admired the puffins and made it to most of the trail. When we heard they were raising money for charity, we wanted to be part of it. Our puffin will overlook open fields from our patio and have a very happy life.”
Yorkshire’s Catch of the Day, decorated by Eleanor Sofia Walker, was fittingly won by a lobster fishing family based in Bridlington. Darren Warters paid £6,200.
The second highest bid was for Amy’s Light, which raised £9,000. Painted by Emma Garness and sponsored by Amy Johnson Arts Trust, it was won by Darren Ralph and Victoria Kerwin from Sutton Mortgage Brokers. They had previously purchased one of Amy Johnson’s moths and wanted another giant sculpture to start a collection.
Darren said: “It was slightly over the budget, but we’re happy to help raise charity money. We’ll keep Amy’s Light at our office on Holderness Road for the time being. She may come home to the garden eventually, but our team and visitors to the business will enjoy her.”
Milly Shaw attended the auction on behalf of her father, who purchased a puffin for his granddaughter to enjoy. He successfully bid £5,100 over the telephone on Nest Builders Well Spotted by artist Kate Eggleston-Wirtz and sponsored by Active Withernsea.
Milly said: “I made the trail with my daughter, who is two-and-a-half, and this puffin was one of the most colourful ones – we both loved it. I’ll create a nice area for us to keep it in the garden.”
Travelling from Derbyshire, Lorna Finn was successful in bidding for much-loved Headscarf Revolutionary, aka Elsie, created by Susan J Woolhouse and sponsored by Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime Project. Elsie sold for £7,100.
Lorna said: “My husband is originally from Hull, and his family all worked in the fishing industry. We came today, especially for Elsie. She reminds us of the strong women who fought for the fishermen’s rights.
“We’re going to keep her in our house. I had a limit, but we went over by £100 to ensure she would be ours.”
Auctioneer Andrew Baitson, from Gilbert Baitson Auctioneers in Hull, said: “I predicted £102,000, but we just needed another puffin to get there. However, £94,000 is a fantastic amount to raise for charity.”
Rick Welton, director of Puffins Galore! said: “Puffins Galore! has been an epic project, owing its success to the vision, generosity, tenacity and patience of all those who have been involved along the way.
“We are delighted with the amount raised for charity and cannot wait to present the funds later this month.”
The project’s chosen charities are RNLI, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Hornsea Inshore Rescue. With the net proceeds of the auction and the sale of the puffins in advance, each charity will receive at least £25,000.