Cresswell Village Hall was packed to the rafters with bargain hunters and campaigners as a unique charity auction took place.

The Save Druridge group held the auction to raise funds to help fight Banks Mining’s plans to open a 3 million tonne opencast coal mine near the Northumberland coastline. Supporters believe that If the mine were to start it would have a damaging effect on tourism at nearby Druridge Bay; dramatically increase numbers of HGVs on local roads, adversely affect local people’s health, destroy the fragile ecosystem and completely ignore the disastrous effects on climate change which burning coal causes. Local people lobbied government to ‘Call In’ this decision as they feel that it is out of line with current planning and environmental policies. The group need to fund their campaign and so the idea of an auction was suggested.

A historical and iconic musical instrument that was used to play the theme tune for one of the most endearing children’s TV shows went for just over a staggering £500.

The Auto Harp has been donated by folk singer, Sandra Kerr who with John Faulkner wrote the music for the TV series Bagpuss and voiced the character of Madeleine Remnant (the rag doll). The instrument was previously owned by folk music legend Peggy Seeger who was married to the singer and songwriter Ewan MacColl until his death in 1989.

The star lot, a classic sports car, an MG donated by Max Tait, one of the Save Druridge members went for just under £2000. The bright red sports car will be insured for a month, 12 months MOT, taxed and comes with a full tank of petrol.

Lynne Tait who leads the Save Druridge Group was delighted with the public’s response.

“The hall was full and people really did put their hands in their pockets to help our cause. The auction will go a long way to helping us with our campaign costs. I’d also like to thank all of the volunteers who donated or helped on the day and in particular our professional auctioneer John Heyes.”