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Mystery Harry Potter theme painting raises funds for IAR

Sophie, Cliff and ChildrenA mystery painting by two Sussex artists was the prize in a 'search and silent auction' to raise funds for IAR on 17 & 18 September. Cliff Wright, illustrator of the Harry Potter books (2 & 3), and fellow artist Sophie Mahir, founder of The Newhaven Artists' Trail, dreamt up this unusual way to auction their work - their first joint collaboration – to raise money to help the dancing bears in India.

The two artists gave little away about their painting, other than that it is entitled 'Boat of Secrets' and owes its inspiration to the Harry Potter stories. Potential bidders had to visit the 'House of Colour' in Saxon Road in Newhaven, which was open as part of the Lewes Artwave Festival. Here they could search for the treasure in the house and bid for it in the silent auction.

The painting went for an undisclosed sum and proceeds from the sale will go to support IAR's campaign to free the bears. Cliff Wright is passionate about bears and has previously donated his own signed books and illustrations to help us raise funds.

'Boat of Secrets' paintingFundraising Director Carrie Colliss says: "We're thrilled that Sophie and Cliff chose to support us in this way. The painting is a beautiful and magical creation that we would all love to own."

Cliff and Sophie are planning another mystery event in the run up to Christmas to raise further funds to help the dancing bears.