Bradley Stoke dad buys £25,000 Shaun sculpture at charity auction

Brian and Hollie Bleaken, holding their 'Shaun in the City' auction programme and bidding card.

One of the most popular sculptures on the Shaun in the City trail held around Bristol over the summer has been bought at auction for £25,000 by a generous Bradley Stoke dad.

Sparkles, which was decorated by Emily Golden to look like a unicorn, was bought by local businessman Brian Bleaken to give to his youngest daughter Hollie, 10, in recognition of the bravery she has shown in overcoming a series of ear problems.

Like many other families, the Bleakens tried to visit as many of the 70 sculptures on the Bristol trail as they could, eventually recording 64 ‘Shauns’.

Hollie loves unicorns, and Sparkles was the first sculpture the family visited on the trail. She says she enjoyed visiting all the other sculptures with their varied and colourful designs, but it was Sparkles she fell in love with. It was no surprise, therefore, that when her dad told her he had obtained two tickets to attend the charity auction held at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway on 8th October, she jumped at the chance to go with him, to get what she thought would be a last look at Sparkles.

Brian hadn’t revealed that he planned to make a bid at the auction, so Hollie was astonished when he first raised a numbered card to bid for Sparkles. Fighting off furious bidding from the floor and via the internet, he eventually secured Hollie’s favourite sculpture for what turned out to be the second highest price paid on the night.

The family is hoping to take delivery of Sparkles within the next few weeks. They say they had originally planned to put Sparkles in a cupboard under the stairs, transforming it to look like a stable. However, they have now realised that the cupboard is too small to accommodate Sparkles, so the sculpture will now have its own room in the house, which Hollie and her sisters will decorate to look “magical and dreamy, fit for a unicorn”.

Funds raised from the sale of the 70 sculptures that featured on the Bristol trail have benefited The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity.

Hollie visits 'Sparkles' on the Bristol 'Shaun in the City' sculpture trail.

Hollie is reunited with 'Sparkles' at the charity auction held at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.

Photos (from top): 1 Brian and Hollie with their bidding card and programme from the Shaun in the City auction. 2 Hollie visits Sparkles on the Bristol sculpture trail in August. 3 Hollie meets Sparkles again at the auction

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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