Jane Austen bookbench auction expected to raise thousands for local cancer charity

Did you take part in the Sitting with Jane BookBench Trail this summer? How many of the 24 individually designed reading benches did you visit around Basingstoke and Deane, Chawton, Alton and Winchester?

Apollo Hotel is a proud sponsor of the Beyond the Birdcage bench, which was situated in Basingstoke’s Festival Square; the most popular bench on the trail with 762 votes to date.

Jane was born and lived in the borough of Basingstoke for more than half of her life and all the benches were individually designed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her death. Beyond the Birdcage, by local artist Katy Stevens, features birds as symbols of a new era of freedom for women, inspired by Austen’s writing.

The bookbench trail has been a huge success  – but what’s going to happen to the benches next? On Friday September 15th, each bench will be auctioned off at The Ark Conference Centre in Basingstoke to help fund a cancer treatment centre for the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust area. Each bookbench is expected to raise several thousand pounds and 75% of the proceeds will go to Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Paul Fearon, General Manager of Apollo Hotel in Basingstoke, comments:

“It’s vital that local businesses in Basingstoke like us stand wholeheartedly behind the projects and charities that improve the lives of the community around us. Our investment in the Sitting with Jane BookBench Trail has helped to raise the cultural profile of Basingstoke and it’s attracted many new people to our town this summer. The legacy of this important commemorative art trail will be the funds raised at the auction, allowing us to support The Ark Cancer Centre and our close neighbours, Basingstoke Hospital.”

If you’re interested in attending the auction, please visit www.arkcancercharity.org.uk/fundraising/sitting-jane to find out more and apply for a ticket.