Eye town trail sculptures go under hammer for charity

Clarke and Simpson are set to auction off Eye's town trail sculptures in aid of the Blossom charity

A selection of the tortoise and hare sculptures from Eye Town Trail which will go under the hammer - Credit: Clarke and Simpson

Tortoise and hare sculptures which have formed a town trail seen by thousands of visitors through the summer are set to go under the hammer later this month.

The eye-catching works — decorated by local artists — formed part of The Way Ahead Art Trail in Eye which was launched on July 8.

The 26 sculptures along with 16 mini-sculptures will be auctioned off in a Clarke and Simpson-run sale at the Oaksmere Hotel in Eye on Thursday, September 16, in aid of the Blossom Charity, a locally-based cause which helps women - and men - to achieve their life goals.

Thousands have descended on the town to catch a glimpse of the sculptures through a trail designed to represent the way ahead as the UK comes out of the pandemic. The initiative has been hailed as a resounding success — but the trail reached its end on Saturday, September 10. 

Among the spectacular exhibits is the AstraZenecHare by artist Karen Turner represents the hope that science and the vaccine have given the world — with many of the works representing all that has happened through the pandemic. In 2019 the town’s first Sheep Art Trail raised £40k at auction and organisers hope to mirror its success this year. 

Blossom Charity founder Bridget McIntyre said: “I have been so excited to see the fabulous sculptures that have been created. If the reaction that we’ve received in Eye is anything to go by, there’ll be a lot of interest and lots of bidding at the auction. 

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“When we decided to organise the trail we hoped that the impact would be to bring lots of people to our lovely market town, to provide enjoyment for families unable to have their holidays this year, and also to raise money for our charity. We are certain that the first two objectives have been achieved and we are hopeful for the last one.”

Jackie Ordish — who has masterminded the trail — added: “We are so grateful for all the people who have supported us so far and we know there is a lot of interest in our sculptures.”

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Artist Nicola Warner, who painted one of the sculptures, said: “As a mixed media artist who creates layered, energetic work focusing on florals and country life, I was delighted to be sponsored by Clarke and Simpson to paint a hare sculpture for the Blossom Charity. 

“Luna’s design flowered from the folklore surrounding hares and includes three golden crescent moons and a full golden moon on the forehead. The layered grasses in which she sits, up to the dark, starry night sky on her body are thanks to my usual layered style.  Luna was a joy to paint, and I hope she raises much needed funds for the charity to continue their essential work.”

The auction website — launched in partnership with Clarke and Simpson and the-saleroom.com — has gone live and people can bid now if they are unable to attend the event. The website will remain open and offer live bidding as the auction is taking place so no one needs to miss out. 

Auctioneer Hayden Foster — who will be wielding the gavel on the day — said Clarke and Simpson was “delighted” to once again to be both sponsor and auctioneers to an auction for the charity, “which does such great work enhancing lives of both men and women throughout the county of Suffolk”.  

“There has always been a great atmosphere at previous auctions, and we hope that after giving so much joy to the people of Eye, the sculptures sell for strong prices to facilitate as much good work as possible,” he said.

Go to www.eyesculpturetrail.co.uk for details on how to buy tickets and to place bids. 

For those wishing to attend the event at the Oaksmere tickets priced £15. 

The Blossom Charity aims to inspire confidence in women and men through one-to-one coaching, workshops and style consultation so that they can make long lasting changes to their lives. Money raised at the auction will help this work to continue and grow.

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