The 36 “stars” of the Lincoln Knights’ Trail passed their toughest test with flying colours by raising nearly £180,000 in a thrilling auction in Lincoln Cathedral.
Hundreds of expectant Knights’ fans gathered in the Nave for the sale and, after days of hot speculation, it was the Knight of the Skies – signed by the last surviving Dambuster, Johnny Johnson MBE, which attracted the big money. A mighty cheer went up when it was snapped-up by its sponsor Game Engineering for £15,000.
Jubilant Red Imps supporters also went away wearing huge smiles, after ensuring that the Lincoln City Knight, painted by artist Leah Goldberg, would be “going home” to Sincil Bank, after auctioneer Ian Walter, of J H Walter, dropped his gavel on their winning bid of £6,000.
Other big money spinners were the Lincoln Green Knight – bought for £9,200 – and Knight in The Forest sold for £9,000.
Auction bidders and watchers were welcomed to the event by The Very Reverend Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln Cathedral.
Ian Sackree also spoke on behalf of The Nomad Trust, which will receive two-thirds of the money raised by the auction. The money will help Nomad to build a day centre to support more vulnerable people. This will also complement its night shelter offering.
Trail lovers have walked 150,000 miles in order to see and photograph every Knight sculpture. If that had been done relay-style they would have gone around the world six times!
Social media statistics revealed that the Knights had attracted half-a-million mentions on Facebook alone and, across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the Knights were responsible for 1.3 million impressions.
A rousing round of applause was made in memory of two Knight artists – Emma McKinley who painted Guardian of The Forest and Valerie Osment who had decorated Knight Music – both of whom had sadly passed away before the auction.