Tens of thousands raised at star-studded RSPCA fundraiser in London

The RSPCA’s first art auction has proved a huge success – raising a staggering £40,000 to help the charity tackle the cruel puppy trade.

The animal welfare charity held the star-studded affair at Burgh House, in Hampstead, on Tuesday night (11 October) to raise money for its Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign.

Around 80 people gathered at the gallery on the night to bid on 39 pieces donated by world-renowned illustrators, artists and celebrities.

Author Jeffrey Archer played auctioneer for the event (pictured), organised by illustrator and RSPCA supporter Helen Oxenbury.

The event raised a whopping £40,600 and Helen was dazzled by everyone’s generosity, saying: “I had no idea it was going to raise so much. I can hardly believe it, it’ll take a day or so to sink in!

“£40,000 is just amazing and I’m so grateful to all the artists that contributed.”

Sir Quentin Blake’s ‘Flourishing on a healthy diet of newspaper’, Ricky Gervais’ ‘Friends’, Judith Kerr’s ‘Mog’, and Helen Oxenbury’s ‘Sharing a joke’ received a flurry of bids and were the big sellers on the night.

RSPCA chief executive Jeremy Cooper opened the event with thanks to the guests, artists and organisers: “I would like to humbly thank all those illustrators who have so generously donated their works.
“A big thank you, also, to all of you for coming here this evening and for your tremendous support of the RSPCA – please bid outrageously!”

The charity’s vice president, actor and animal welfare campaigner Peter Egan, read a poem called ‘Just a dog’ and talked about his own experiences with his rescued puppy farm dogs.

He said: “I think all the dog lovers here tonight would agree that dogs enrich our lives during the happy times and bring comfort for the tumultuous periods when we need a friend.

“It’s hard to believe that there are people who do not feel the same and treat them as mere commodities with no consideration for their welfare.”

Pieces were also donated by John Burningham, Raymond Briggs and Tony Ross while artists such as Lauren Child and Paul Cox attended the event to support the cause. [Full list of illustrators below].

All profits from the event will go towards helping the RSPCA continue its fight against the puppy trade.

A year ago, the charity – which is funded entirely through donations – launched its high-profile Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and inform puppy buyers on how to buy a dog responsibly and avoid foul of the illegal traders. The campaign is also calling on the Government to bring in tighter legislation around the breeding and selling of dogs to better protect their welfare.

The RSPCA would also like to extend a huge thank you to Helen Oxenbury and her husband John Burningham for arranging the donated illustrations; to auctioneer Jeffrey Archer; to Chris Beetles and his staff at Chris Beetles Gallery; to Martin and Angela Humphrey, Selina Skipwith, Caroline Cook and Naked Wines for all their help; and to Burgh House & Hampstead Museum.


Notes to editors
For photos from the event or more information about the puppy trade, please contact the press office by calling 0300 123 0244 or emailing press@rspca.org.uk.
For more information on how to support the RSPCA’s work, visit our website: www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/donate

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 07825 158490
Email: press@rspca.org.uk  Website: www.rspca.org.uk