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14th April 2018. The volunteers who keep a watchful eye over the Helford River will be better equipped to do so after almost £4,000 was raised to support their work.

A charity auction was held at Porthleven Public Hall on Saturday in aid of the Nare Point National Coastwatch Station. Organised by watchkeepers and friends of the station, with support from Cober Valley Rotary Club, it raised £3,800 through the sale of 92 lots donated by businesses and individuals from all over Cornwall. These went under the hammer of well-known Penzance auctioneer David Lay, to an audience of around 100 people. Bids came thick and fast from the floor, by phone and there were several commissioned bids already on the books before the event.

The audience particularly enjoyed a moment when, whilst selling a Punch and Judy show, David was interrupted first by Judy and then Punch who wanted to get involved in the auction. David’s quick wit was able to manage these two unruly performers and sell their show to a commissioned bidder for £120. The highlight of the night was the auction of a day's sailing on a classic gaff cutter, which sold for £300. A Manchester United signed shirt sold for £150 whilst eight hours of gardening went for £120 and a cookery day with well-respected Mawnan chef Annie Sibbert sold for £100. Bidders also had the opportunity to bid for food hampers, lunches and plenty of cream teas, with all lots being sold.

Len Jepp, Station Manager at NCI Nare Point, said: “We were delighted with the support given by the public and very much appreciated their generosity. We are also indebted to the many businesses and individuals who donated items to be sold and to David Lay for taking a bus driver’s evening off. He provided entertainment and ensured every lot was sold."

The money raised will be partly used to match fund a new telescope, with Cober Valley Rotary Club providing the other 50 per cent of the cost. The balance from the auction will help to run the station for this financial year. Each National Coastwatch Institution Station has to raise its own annual running costs each year, which are approximately £6,000.

The photo, courtesy of Tom Suddes, shows David Lay taking bids during the evening.

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