12th October 2018

Giraffe auction tops £210,000 for hospice

Celebrations were in full swing last night after an auction of 31 giraffe sculptures raised £210,400 for the St Richard’s Hospice Build 2020 Appeal.

Worcester Stands Tall, a Wild in Art event brought to the city by St Richard’s, captured the hearts of the community and attracted thousands of visitors this summer.

The auction at drp Group, in Hartlebury, was a towering success – with people bidding to give their favourite giraffes a forever home.

Tricia Cavell, Fundraising Director at St Richard’s Hospice, said: “Last night’s auction was incredible and we are thrilled to have raised £210,400 for our hospice’s Build 2020 Appeal.

“The funds raised will make a huge difference to our project to expand and redevelop the hospice – ultimately allowing us to extend our care to more patients and families.

“To all of the buyers, artists, sponsors, partners, supporters, schools, community groups and public who helped make this project possible – we would like to say a sincere thank you for your immeasurable support. Together, we have truly stood tall for Worcester and beyond.”

Over the summer, 57 giraffes stood through the city’s streets and open spaces for 10 weeks attracting thousands of visitors from all over the country.

Of the 57 sculptures, 30 were giant giraffes and 27 were calves – 26 of which were decorated by schools and community groups.

All the giant giraffes and one calf, Lily the Pink, went to auction while the remaining 26 calves will return to those who decorated them as a legacy of the project.

Worcestershire businessman Dave Graesser, from Hanbury, generously added to the £1,700 raised in a fundraising appeal to bring the Snowdrop giraffe sculpture to the hospice gardens with a winning bid of £8,000.

St Richard’s had earlier launched the Save Our Snowdrop campaign to buy the giraffe which was painted by Katie Hodgetts, an artist whose granddad was cared for by St Richard’s Hospice before he died in 2016.

Mr Graesser, whose wife Sue is being cared for in the hospice In-patient Unit, said the couple wanted to support St Richard’s as a way of thanking them for all they have done.

“We have first-hand experience of hospice care since we were introduced over two years ago,” said Mr Graesser. “Everybody involved is caring and full of love.

“She and I talked about helping to save Snowdrop for the hospice and she’s delighted – it’s really given her something to smile about.

“To us Snowdrop reflects the fact that so many people love and support St Richard’s and will help people to understand they are not alone.

“We hope when Snowdrop is in the hospice garden that she will bring a smile to the faces of those that see her and also act as a distraction from whatever they are dealing with at that moment.”

Mr Graesser also praised the hospice for the support they have given him and the couple’s son, Josh, during Sue’s illness.

Snowdrop will have company at the hospice as another giraffe sculpture, Touch the Wishing Star, designed by Toyah Willcox, was donated to the hospice by its winning bidder.

John Sheen bought the sculpture in memory of his daughter Sarah Trueman, nee Sheen, who was cared for by St Richard’s before she died in August, aged 31.

Mr Sheen said, “Sarah died at St Richard’s and I thought it was appropriate to bid for Wishing on a Star as hopefully she is up there looking at us.”

He added: “I hope that children will go and see the giraffe if their grandparents or parents are ill and they can wish on that star. It’s also in memory of my daughter and will always be there.”

The hospice’s Build 2020 appeal aims to raise the funds needed to build a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and loved ones to be cared for in the future.

The total cost of the project is £5.3 million. To find out more about St Richard’s Hospice and to show support for its Build 2020 Appeal, visit www.strichards.org.uk

Worcester Stands Tall is a Wild in Art project, brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice. The auction was supported by Barclays.

The Worcester Stands Tall project is supported by presenting partners Worcestershire Ambassadors and Crowngate Shopping Centre, education partner West Midland Safari Park and media partners Free Radio and Worcester News.