The first weekend in October saw literacy charity BooksAboutTown bring all fifty-one of their BookBenches together in one location. A good and obvious idea, especially for those of us that didn’t quite find them all before they vanished.
The amazing painted benches were displayed around Gordon Square in Bloomsbury, and attracted a good crowd on both days. Gordon Square was an apt choice as Virginia Woolf lived on the square and her 1925 book “Mrs Dalloway” is the subject of one of the bookbenches.
The creator of the Paddington Bear bench, Michelle Heron, was on hand to chat to punters admiring her work. In creating the Paddington bench she “wanted to create a place where people could stop rushing about and sit down to eat their sandwiches with Paddington Bear and keep him company while they ponder their next great adventure.” Her involvement with her BookBear had led to a commission from Paddington Station.
The BookBenches had been lovingly polished in preparation for their auction for charity on Tuesday 7th October. The money raised going towards the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in the UK. On Sunday, one of the BooksAboutTown people told me they were hoping that the auction of the fifty-one benches would raise about £150,000. In actual fact, the Tuesday auction raised an amazing total of £251,500 – just over a quarter of a million pounds. A brilliant result.
If you want the figures… The Jeeves and Wooster bench sold for the highest amount – £9500. Next were the Bond and War Horse bookbenches both sold for £9000. Paul Kidby’s Discworld bench wasn’t far behind going for £8000, while Deven Bhurke’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy raised £4500. A huge well done to all involved, especially to BookAboutTown.
LINKS & INFO:
The main BookBench event site is here: www.BooksAboutTown.org.uk. The initiative was co-organised by Wild in Art.
Michelle Heron sometimes draws things other than Paddington Bear and you can out what via her twitter @MHeronArt