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Auction raises "astonishing" amount for Willows

By Kirsty Brown

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An online auction to raise money for a north-east animal charity has raised almost £8,300 and helped to secure the charity's future.

When Willows Animal Sanctuary shared their worries that lockdown may force them to close permanently, animal lovers Hannah Darnell and Laura Appleton decided that they wanted to help.

Government guidance meant that the charity's income dropped substantially, and with more than 450 animals relying on the Sanctuary to provide basic care the charity was left trying to source thousands of pounds to stay afloat long enough to reopen when it is safe to do so.

The pair decided to hold an auction on Facebook and were successful in securing support from various celebrities including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Sam Heughan, Michaela Strachan, Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross.

It was indeed one of these celebrity pieces which attracted the most attention during the auction.

A copy of Further Tales Of Peter Rabbit signed by Emma Thompson raised £522 for the charity.

Other popular items included an artwork by Scottish artist Maria Campbell which collected £200 and an Aberdeen Football Club shirt signed by footballing legend Willie Miller which attracted a final bid of £175.

The initial total last week stood at £4600, however the pair then received a number of items from small businesses to extend their auction in an attempt to push them over the £5000 mark.

This second auction brought the total to almost £6000.

A number of people who had been unsuccessful in their bids offered to make donations to the event to bring up the total and a very generous donation and offer of fund matching from Brodies has brought the auction's final total up to almost £8,300 which the organisers have described as "astonishing".

Organiser Hannah said: "Laura and I are delighted to have played a part in raising such an incredible amount of money for Willows, but we couldn't have done it without the kindness and generosity of those who donated items, those who bid on them, and those who made cash donations.

"Willows is an extraordinary place, and even contemplating that we could lose them from the community was a motivator to push ahead with the auction and try to raise as much money as we could.

"We do hope that the funds raised will help Willows to see out the rest of the lockdown period, and allow them to open again once this nightmare passes."

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