A popular art trail made its final bow-wow – and helped raise more than £250,000 for children with life limiting conditions.
A total of 61 Great North Snowdogs went under the hammer at a Grand Auction at Sage Gateshead on Tuesday, helping raise £259,200 for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.
Among the highlights were the glittering Disco Dog and Guide Dog – each topping the £9,000 mark – while four, never-before-seen, mini Snowdogs raised almost £15,000 in total.
One of the trail’s most popular dogs, Arthur, was the first lot of the night and went for £5,200 to Eric Wardle who had travelled down from his home at Fife, Scotland.
Eric said: “My late mum, Moira, was cared for by St Oswald’s and they’ve been a great support to my dad, Owen, ever since.
“They are just amazing people and this is my way of giving something back to them. We’re going to put Arthur in our garden as a lovely reminder of mum and of the Hospice.”
But the dog that inspired the greatest response in the room was undoubtedly Wild North East – decorated by artist Jina Gelder, with the help of some of the children receiving care and support at the Hospice.
St Oswald’s had launched a justgiving campaign to raise money and succeeded, raising £7,000.
Great North Snowdogs has been the most successful public art trail ever to take place in the region, with thousands of people visiting the sculptures over the nine-week initiative.
More than 11,000 downloaded the Great North Snowdogs app – unlocking around 155,000 Snowdogs in the process – and at least 280,000 people viewed, shared and interacted with the St Oswald’s Hospice social media sites each week.
Jane Hogan, Great North Snowdogs project lead for St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “The response to this trail has been beyond anything we could ever have imagined.
“People of all ages and from all parts of the country took the Snowdogs to their hearts and their generosity has been truly humbling.
“Profits raised at the auction and from other related fundraising activities will go directly to the hospice and it really will transform what we are able to do for the children – many of whom are very poorly indeed.
“We would like to thank Jason Cook and Steffen Peddie, our event hosts, as well as Anderson & Garland, the auctioneers who gave their services entirely free of charge and made the evening such a staggering success.”