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Do the moth-ematics – sale raises £85,000!

Charities and arts projects throughout Hull and East Yorkshire will benefit from a donation of nearly £80,000 after the “tremendous success” of the Amy Johnson Festival moth auction. The sale, which was conducted at The Royal Hull Hotel by Gilbert Baitson Auctioneers and Valuers, raised a total of £85,000 from bids in the room and online for 25 decorated moths which were part of the Festival’s “A Moth for Amy” trail.

After completing the moth-ematics – deducting VAT and costs of the event, and then adding the proceeds from the sale of some moths to sponsors – Festival organisers expect to hand over between £75,000 and £80,000 to support the Hull and East Yorkshire Smile Foundation and to launch the Amy Johnson Arts and Engineering Awards.

The fund is likely to be boosted further by the sale of Mystery Moth, which had to be withdrawn from the auction because of a family emergency involving one of the artists.

Rick Welton, Director of the Amy Johnson Festival, said: “The auction was a tremendous success and surpassed all expectations. We will work out with the artists and with the Smile Foundation what to do with Mystery Moth, but we are delighted with everything so far.”

The Smile Foundation will use its share of the proceeds to launch an innovation fund to help charities in the region. The Festival will be renamed as the Amy Johnson Arts Trust and will launch its awards at the end of the summer, with the aim of announcing winners in December and providing funding for projects during 2018.

Rick said: “We hope to be able to distribute about £8,000 a year for five years. It will be open to people in Hull and East Yorkshire and will be for creative arts projects with an engineering connection.”

The highest price paid for a moth was £6,000 for “To Build a House…” which was displayed at Kingswood Arts Centre and featured a design submitted all the way from India by Alka Yadav, a young woman who wants to become a fashion designer and who heard about the moth trail online.

Other prices ranged from £2,000 to £5,000 as the sale even improved on the £68,000 return from the auction of the 40 Larkin toads more than six years ago.

Clare Huby, Project Manager for “A Moth for Amy”, said organisers have already been asked what they plan to do next but will take a long break before responding. She said it is significant that the moths marked the 75th anniversary of the death of Amy Johnson and the toads commemorated the 75th anniversary of the death of Philip Larkin.

Clare said: “First we need a long lie down! There will be discussions about it but there was a long time between toads and moths and it will be a long time before we do anything else like this.