Humberside

Hull's Larkin toads make £60,000 at charity auction

One of the Larkin toads
Image caption The Larkin Toads have been an eye-catching presence throughout Hull during the summer

Forty toad sculptures that have been on display in Hull throughout the summer have sold at auction for £60,000.

The 1m tall fibreglass toads were commissioned from local artists to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of poet Philip Larkin.

The theme of the arts project was inspired by Larkin's two poems Toads and Toads Revisited.

Proceeds from Saturday's sale go to the Lord Mayor's charities, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and arts funds.

Larkin With Toads project manager Claire Huby said bids, ranging from £1,250 to £3,600 per toad, had far exceeded expectations.

"We were stunned and amazed," she said.

Although many of the toads have been bought by private bidders from all over the country, a handful will remain on public view in the city, with four staying in their current locations.

Some have been donated to local schools, whose pupils helped design them, and others will grace office buildings in the city.

"There is still going to be a big toady presence in Hull," said Ms Huby.

The project sparked controversy earlier this year when Hull City Council was forced to withdraw £175,000 of funding it had earmarked for the toads.

Council leader Carl Minns said the decision to use public money was "embarrassing".

However, the project went ahead with commercial sponsorship and the toads have proved to be popular with the public in Hull.

During their 10-week stay in the city, the toads also attracted thousands of admirers as well as some unwanted attention in the form of thieves and vandals.

A spokeswoman for the Larkin25 project said: "The auction offers the public the opportunity to buy a unique piece of art and to have the satisfaction of owning a highly unusual sculpture commemorating the life of one of the nation's best loved poets."

Successful bidders have been given a picture of their toad until arrangements can be made for the transport and relocation of the toad sculptures.

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