Harry Potter illustrator and Sir Quentin Blake help raise money for online charity auction in memory of Bexhill schoolgirl

An online postcard auction in memory of a Bexhill student who died from cancer has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 11:05 am
Sophie Taylor. SUS-200615-134648001

Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction was set up by St Richard’s Catholic College, where 12-year-old Sophie Taylor was a student, by teacher Miranda Pennington.

The event on eBay ended on Saturday (June 27) after running for 10 days and raised more than £31,000 for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The original Sophie’s Secret Postcard auction was held in 2018 and raised £15,000.

Almost 1,100 postcards featured on the online auction.

Sophie’s parents, James and Luiza Taylor, said: “It was fantastic and overwhelming to see so many people creating and bidding for these amazing postcards for such a good cause. It was a lovely way to remember Sophie and she would be very proud of everyone who got involved.”

Coordinator Miranda Pennington said: “It’s been an incredible experience, and has inspired many people during the lockdown. So many wonderful artists donated the most amazing artwork in Sophie’s memory. The secret art auction which was held on Saturday #sophiespostcard2020 was shared extensively in the press and on social media and there were thousands of bidders taking part from all around the world.”

Thomas Taylor, children’s author and illustrator, had the winning postcard in 2018 raising £1,071,51 with an original illustration of Harry Potter based on his own jacket design for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, first published in 1997. For #sophiespostcard2020, Thomas again painted Harry Potter, this time with Hedwig the owl. It raised £2,050, along with an illustration from his new bestselling trilogy, Malamander.

Sir Quentin Blake first took part in 2018 when his two illustrations were bought by one bidder for £1,250. This time Sir Quentin donated three illustrations which raised a total of £3,710.

Talented art student, Will Jones, won the highest priced work from a pupil, raising £173 for his two illustrations depicting the plague doctor. Staff, pupils and parents from St Richard’s added thousands to the final total with their artwork.

Principal Doreen Cronin said: “This is a wonderful outcome for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity which was not only a great support to Sophie and her family but has supported a number of other children and families in the school community too.

“I would like to thank all the artists for sharing their talents and their generosity and all those who bid for a postcard raising such a phenomenal sum. I would also like to pay tribute to Ms Pennington, who has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to bring this auction to fruition.

“Her serene, meticulous approach has been inspirational to watch.

“The auction is now set in stone as a feature of the art world’s calendar so I know that she is already thinking of organising another one in the future, not only to showcase a range of famous and not-so-famous (yet) art work but to keep Sophie’s memory alive, while supporting the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

“The whole school community is absolutely thrilled with the success of the auction.”

For readers curious as to whose postcards belonged to which artists and how much they raised can explore the lists published on www.sophiespostcard.com.

A catalogue of all the works and artists who took part in the auction is being created at the moment and can be pre-ordered for just £15 via sophiessecretpostcardauction on eBay or on www.sophiespostcard.com.

The deadline to order is July 24 when the catalogue will be sent to print, ready for posting during August.

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