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Auction of Norwich’s GoGoDragons! proves a roaring success

09:26 02 October 2015

The GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Auctioneer Mike Sarson takes bids for GoGoMosaic which went for £25,000. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Auctioneer Mike Sarson takes bids for GoGoMosaic which went for £25,000. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

After a scorching summer full of fiery fun the GoGoDragons! said goodbye to our fine city by raising £369,500 for children’s charity Break.

Eighty-two of the colourful fire-breathers went under the hammer at a charity auction at The Forum last night.

The event was an exciting grand finale to the GoGoDragons! trail – brought to Norwich by Break and Wild in Art – which had seen the winged warriors win the hearts of people of all ages.

The GoGoDragons! beat the amount raised by their predecessors – the GoGoGorillas! – who in 2013 raised a total of £272,300.

The fundraising superstars which sold for the most money last night included GoGoMosaic, by artist Carolyn Ash, which went for £25,000, Duff, by artist Alex Egan, which raised £20,500 and Luda, by Norfolk’s “Mini Monet” Kieron Williamson, which sold for £20,000.

A very worthy cause

The money raised will help Break transform the lives of vulnerable children, young people and families.

Break – which has the motto “changing young lives” – wants to ensure everyone has a better chance in life and for 47 years the Norfolk-based charity, in partnership with local authorities, has been giving vital support. It works with young people in care and moving on from care, children and young people with disabilities, families in need of support, and children who are considered at risk.

This month Unthank Family Centre – a team of social workers and therapists who work with children in their homes, schools and specialist play settings – has also become part of Break. The centre is the latest addition to a charity which also has 10 children’s homes, some of which offer short breaks for children with disabilities and others which offer permanent homes for young people unable to be cared for by their families, and a Moving On Team to support young people making the transition from being in care to living independently. Break also has a residential family assessment service, a therapeutic fostering service and a range of community-based support services available to vulnerable families including Norwich-based Families House.

Visit www.break-charity.org

Stormy and Scorcher! each raised £7,200 and Bling went for £7,000.

About 550 people packed into The Forum to snap up a dragon, with many more also bidding online.

Television presenter and Break patron Jake Humphrey was the host for the night, while TW Gaze auctioneer Mike Sarson was the man with the golden gavel.

Cavell was the first dragon to be auctioned off, raising £4,800, next up was Bittern and Wherry who raised £2,800.

The GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Jake Humphrey, patron of Break, surrounded by dragons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Jake Humphrey, patron of Break, surrounded by dragons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dragonfly – the winner of the EDP and Evening News’ online competition to find the most popular dragon – was third and sold for £5,600, and then one by one the rest of the clan took to the auction stage.

George the Dragon, the EDP and Norwich Evening News dragon designed by our competition winner John Checketts and artist Martin Wall, fetched £3,800.

Mr Humphrey paid tribute to the team that brought GoGoDragons! to Norwich and spoke of the amazing legacy the dragons would leave behind.

He said: “I thought after the GoGoGorillas! we wouldn’t necessarily top that and we have with the dragons.

The GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Auctioneer Mike Sarson takes bids for Scorcher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Auctioneer Mike Sarson takes bids for Scorcher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I just think the whole thing moved on to another level, and again, I am just blown away by this relatively small charity that I am lucky enough to be the patron of.

“They have come up trumps again, this small group of people have worked day and night so that the people of Norwich could just walk out one day and find all the dragons on the pavements.

“The amount of effort to get that to happen is huge, and then the dragons all disappear and return to be auctioned off.

“All of that takes such a lot of effort and I’m just so proud of the whole of the Break team.”

The GoGoDragons! story

The GoGoDragons! story began in April 2014 when the EDP and Norwich Evening News revealed that Break and Wild in Art planned to make 2015 the year of the dragon.

The first dragons, Birdie and Cavell, made their debut at that year’s Royal Norfolk Show. Over the next year 82 further dragons joined them, each sponsored by a local organisation and designed by an artist connected to Norfolk.

The whole clan of 84 characters took their places on the GoGoDragons! trail on June 21, and it is thought that about one million people took part in the event, which ran until September 5.

About 120 baby dragons by Norfolk schoolchildren also joined in the fun, and at the end of the trail returned to their schools.

Dragon fans went sticker crazy, snapping up nearly 8,000 copies of the GoGoDragons! sticker book created by the EDP, Norwich Evening News and East of England Co-op. Demand for stickers went off the scale as more than 300,000 packs flew off the shelves.

After a brief spell away from the limelight, the dragons returned to The Forum on Sunday for a four-day farewell that attracted 10,000 people on the first day alone.

All the dragons were auctioned off last night, with the exception of Duelling Dragons and Clang. Now they are flying off to their new homes, having played a vital role in raising Break’s profile and generating valuable funds.

He said the incredible amount of money raised would help Break support even more children, young people and families in need.

“This is huge for Break, we are talking here about really seriously large amounts of money,” he added.

“I think a lot of people just see the Break charity shops and assume that’s the way they make their money but like all charities Break always needs as much money as possible.

“It’s nights like the auction and the whole of the dragon trail that means more people across Norfolk can be helped by Break.”

The GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Artist Carolyn Ash with GoGoMosaic which got the highest bid of the night at £25,000. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe GoGoDragons! Auction event at the Forum. Artist Carolyn Ash with GoGoMosaic which got the highest bid of the night at £25,000. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Martin Green, GoGoDragons! project manager, said: “For the charity and for everybody involved, last night was the culmination of all the work on the GoGoDragons! project.

“£369,500 will make a massive difference to a small charity like Break. It will enable us to look at new services and add value to the services we have already got, and it will really go a long way to change children, young people and families’ lives in East Anglia.”

He added: “We would like to thank everybody who has been involved – our sponsors, artists, everybody – none of this would have been possible without everybody’s valuable support.”

Artist Carolyn Ash, whose dragon GoGoMosaic went for the biggest sum of £25,000, said: “I am totally in shock. I really didn’t expect it at all.

“I feel a bit sad [to see GoGoMosaic go to a new home] but really happy that someone loved him enough to want to buy him. I am totally in shock. It is brilliant that that amount of money is going to Break – it is an amazing charity.”

For full details about how much each dragon was sold for, see tomorrow’s paper.

Visit www.gogodragons.co.uk

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