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Tilly’s memory lives on as painted replica auction raises $250,000

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Valuable collection: the statues were decorated by local artists before going under the hammer (Photograph supplied)

An auction of horse statues has raised $250,000 for a charity that provides therapy programmes for people with special needs.

All 20 life-size fibreglass statues of Tilly – a miniature filly who was a fixture of the WindReach centre’s animal therapy zone – were snapped up at the auction on Friday. The funds will be used to support WindReach’s educational and therapeutic programmes.

The Tilly replicas were painted and decorated by resident artists before being auctioned off to the highest bidders.

A WindReach spokeswoman said: “The success of this event was a culmination of creative artistry, community support, event planning mastery and the legacy of Tilly.”

Tilly died last November and the event was held as a celebration of her life.

The spokeswoman added: “Tilly was loved by the masses as she served thousands of individuals living with special needs and their families during her 22 years at WindReach.

“Each artist donated their talent and time and embraced the spirit of Tilly as they created exquisite works of art. The replicas have now all found their forever homes within our community and we are sure that they will be conversation pieces for years to come.

“We are forever grateful to all who have supported this event both financially and to those that volunteered in any way.

“Events, such as this one, allow us to raise the funds necessary to continue to maintain our strong operational structures and to remain sustainable for many years to come.”

And they’re off: the event was sold out, drawing a large crowd (Photograph supplied)

The public was also given an opportunity to select their favourite horse after the replicas went on display at the Washington Mall in the weeks leading up to Friday’s auction. Local artist Robyn Hooper’s TillyAnna Borealis was voted the winner.

The WindReach board began planning the Tilly’s Filly Fundraiser event at the end of 2020 and sent measurements and photographs of the horse to a company in the US that made exact replicas in fibreglass.

Ali Watlington, one of the event organisers, said: "After a few challenging years, producing an event like this felt like the perfect opportunity to do something fun and vibrant, while also showcasing some of Bermuda's talented artists.

“We had no idea that we’d receive such a tremendous response from the community. We are humbled and grateful for everyone’s support, and still blown away by the incredible competition at the auction."

Fellow board member Stewart Ritchie, added: “We are so grateful to all the wonderful artists who provided their time, materials and tremendous talents, to create these works of art. The event was a tremendous success in large part because of the originality of the pieces and the generous support of the community.

“WindReach has always had strong support from the donor community, but to raise quarter of a million dollars was quite staggering.”

For more information about WindReach and their educational and therapeutic programmes visit here or search for WindReachBermuda on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Published May 04, 2022 at 7:42 am (Updated May 04, 2022 at 7:42 am)

Tilly’s memory lives on as painted replica auction raises $250,000

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