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Auctioneer James Endeacott in full voice auctioning a painting at the Hastings Supports Refugees art sale with Stewart Walton enjoying the fun.

Auctioneer James Endeacott in full voice auctioning a painting at the Hastings Supports Refugees art sale with Stewart Walton enjoying the fun.

Hastings artists support Hastings refugees

Hastings people are never backwards in coming forwards to contribute to those in need. And artists in particular are generous to a fault in putting their creative hands into their studio pockets to help others. Last weekend, they did it again by kindly offering their work for auction to benefit those who have risked unbelievable obstacles to find refuge on our shores. Lauris Morgan-Griffiths spoke to Stewart Walton about the logistics and generosity of his fellow artists.

So many people have thought of those risking their lives crossing the sea seeking a safe refuge but Stewart Walton decided to do something about it. He found an innovative way to raise money for Hastings Support Refugees.  He first had the idea when he had an exhibition at the Crown and contributed 50 percent of his last day sales to the charity. He co-opted the always generous artist community to give a piece of work for an art auction to be held at both Marina Fountain and the Crown. They were part of the 2 Hour Affordable Art Windows at the Marina Fountain on Saturday and the Crown on Sunday.  All artists priced their work at £40, £30, £20 or £10 and there were plenty of bargain hunters at both venues.

The sale went better than anyone could have been expected. The final amount raised was the miracle sum of £1,066.

A few extra quid was thrown in by a mystery donor to get the exact amount but who’s counting! And that is not the end of it, the amount is still rising.

The spirit of the whole thing was contagious, the atmosphere, great fun. The main auction took place at the Crown on Sunday, when James Endeacott was the auctioneer and certainly raised the bar.

What was amazing was the bidding on the Lucky Dip packages. Artists’ donations were wrapped up in brown paper parcels to be auctioned, sight unseen. The Marina Fountain one went for £200 on the Saturday. Another mystery package was auctioned on the Sunday, and ended up scooping £220. “It was hilarious,” Walton says. “There was a three-way bidding war and in the end the final bid was someone bidding against themselves”. Remarkable.

It was a real Hastings event. The people of Hastings really stepped up. “People were saying, ‘I could never afford to buy any original art. But I could afford  £10, £20 or maybe £40’ – and there was  an added bonus of being able to meet the artist.”  Walton adds, “I can’t thank the people of Hastings enough for their kindness and generosity.”

Polly Gifford, Hastings Supports Refugees and co chair, Hastings Community of Sanctuary, told HOT: “The town’s artists have always been great supporters of Hastings Supports Refugees, and this fantastic auction is another example. We are so grateful to both the Crown and the Marina Fountain, to Stuart Walton and all the artists, and to everyone who bought the artworks.

“All the funds raised will go towards supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in Hastings and further afield. Thank you again to this wonderful town.”

On Monday 13 December there is a Knit-a-Thon at the Crown to raise money for Hastings Supports Refugees. Knitters will be kitting scarves for refugees for 12 hours, from 11am to 11pm.

Besides Hastings Supports Refugees, Hastings Buddy Project has an ongoing fundraising campaign to help provide sustainable support  for vulnerable people in Hastings, both settled refugees and those in the asylum dispersal scheme who do not have their status yet. Financial support is provided to those living on around £40 per week, as well as food, nappies, credit to access the internet and more. Donations always welcome. 


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Posted 19:48 Wednesday, Dec 8, 2021 In: Hastings People

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