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Pippa helps Mary Hare to raise £30,000

Fundraising auction towards appeal for new primary school

Pippa helps Mary Hare to raise £30,000

ALMOST £30,000 was raised at a charity auction in aid of the new Mary Hare Primary School for deaf children in Snelsmore on Monday evening.

Following a drinks reception, Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, who is an ambassador to the school, kicked off the proceedings at Donnington Priory in front of more than 100 bidders.

She auctioned the first lot, a bronze sculpture by Sophie Ryder titled Maryhare, a hybrid with the head of a hare, which was cast especially for the event.

It raised the highest amount on the night, with the hammer coming down at £8,000.

It was one of 29 pieces of art from 25 artists on offer, many from local artists, including two Mary Hare pupils, Ruaridh Lever-Hogg, who attended the school between 2009 and 2011, and Pollyana Begbie, whose two pieces were created for her A-level in fine arts at the school.

Other artists from the area, whose works were auctioned free-of-charge by Donnington-based valuers and auctioneers Dreweatts, included Newbury sculptor Diana Pattenden, Jane Skingley, the resident artist at The Base at Greenham, Nick Schlee, from Upper Basildon, Rosemary Trigwell, from Kintbury, and Sioban Coppinger, from Lambourn.

There was also an oil painting by singer and songwriter David Gray.

Pippa Middleton said: “I am not sure I would want a new career as an auctioneer, but it was a lot of fun.

“The guests and bidders present entered into the spirit of the occasion and I am pleased with the contribution we have made towards the Mary Hare Primary School Appeal.”

Mary Hare principal Peter Gale said: “Seeing the pupils from the primary school acting as porters and holding up the beautiful works of art filled me with pride.

“Seeing the artists who supported the event and all those who came to bid reminded me that there is so much support in the community for the work we do.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of them and to Dreweatts auctioneers for helping us to raise another significant contribution to our Primary School Appeal.”

Deputy chairman of Dreweatts, Will Richards, said: “We were thrilled to host such a successful evening.

“We were very grateful that so many well-regarded artists donated so generously to the auction.

“This, and the goodwill of the bidders, resulted in a very enjoyable evening and some important funds being raised for the new school.” 

The proceeds from the night will go towards the £6m needed for the school, which is scheduled for completion in 2020.

It will replace the current primary school at Greenham, which is to be sold, and will be relocated at the site of the current secondary school at Snelsmore.

It will house 48 children with severe or moderate hearing problems, with 32 pupils having the option to stay on site in a boarding house.

The school will also have a two-storey business centre, audiology clinics, conference rooms, a hearing aid repair shop and an earmould manufacturing facility.

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