Let the bidding commence!

Unique deckchairs designed by celebrities and talented artists to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice have gone up for auction to the highest bidders.

An online auction of the exclusive Suffolk Coastal Deckchairs art collection has been launched and people have until October 12th to bid for their favourite to display in their home or workplace.

The latest household names to have created a canvas are wildlife presenter and former Goodie Bill Oddie and his wife, writer Laura Beaumont, whose saucy seaside postcard design is attracting a lot of interest. There are also designs by actor Sean Bean, actress Maureen Lipman, writer Anthony Horowitz, Black Beauty composer Denis King, thespian Bernard Hill, Holby City Star Robert Powell, Mr Benn creator David McKee, cartoonist Annie Tempest, award-winning artists Susan Gunn and Jeremy Deller as well as many artists from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

Twenty of the 49 deckchair canvases will be auctioned online. To bid visit  www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/deckchairsauction

The remaining deckchairs will go under the hammer at a public invitation-only event, attended by former Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, Suffolk, on 1st October.

The gala auction will be led by high-profile auctioneer Elizabeth Talbot, of East Anglian-based TW Gaze Auctioneers. She is an expert on TV’s Flog It!, Bargain Hunt and Cash in the Attic and facilitated bidding for the successful Go Elephants! charity auction in Norwich in 2008.

Mrs Talbot, of Lowestoft, said: “The Suffolk Coastal Deckchairs project is a very clever fundraising campaign. The deckchairs instantly capture the character of the East Suffolk area and our wonderful coastline, whilst providing a fabulous medium upon which artists can display their work.
“It is a good time for people to invest in 21st century art and the fact that in doing so they will be supporting such a worthy local cause as St Elizabeth Hospice means we are anticipating a lot of interest from home and abroad.”

Project organiser Carl Brooks, of St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “These are one off artworks never to be created again and we hope to raise thousands of pounds to help us to continue to care for patients and their families.”

One of the canvases, designed by Colchester-based artist Janet French, is an aerial view of the Hospice. Rather than auctioning this particularly special chair, donations are being sought to buy the canvas for permanent display at the Hospice itself, to be enjoyed by patients, families and staff.

The start of the auction marks the culmination of the quirky campaign which saw the deckchairs exhibited at art venues across East Suffolk over the spring and summer. Thousands of local people and holidaymakers flocked to the displays as they toured Ipswich, Felixstowe, Halesworth, Southwold and Snape.  If you have not seen the deckchairs yet, there is one exhibition left at Aldeburgh Gallery from 23rd-26th September.

If you would like more details call 01473 723600, email fundraising@stelizabethhospice.org.uk or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/deckchairsauction

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