Emsworth church stalwart hangs up her auction gavel

  • Hilary Bolt ran first St James’ Church auction in 1990
  • Since then £80,000 has been raised for church
  • Many weird and wonderful objects sold
  • Now handing over the reins
  • Also church’s 175th anniversary
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FROM a plastic stag’s head and lamps found in skips, to sausages and chickens – you never know what will turn up in the annual St James’ Church auction.

And after a quarter of a century of organising it Hilary Bolt is finally stepping down.

A few years ago a found a rather unique lamp in a skip which I thought might fetch a few pounds. But it ended up selling for £40!

Hilary Bolt

In the 25 years she has run the Emsworth fundraiser, more than £80,000 has been raised to pay for the parish’s work in the community, and repairing the church itself.

It comes as the 175th anniversary of the church is celebrated with music from 1840 to the present day.

Hilary, from Emsworth, said: ‘Back in 1990 we had an appeal to help us raise funds to put a new roof on St James’ Church.

‘The rector at that time asked me to organise a fundraising event so I organised an auction.

‘That went quite well so the next year we organised another one, and then another one, until here we are in 2015 and its our 25th annual auction.

‘We have had many weird and wonderful lots over the years.

‘Everything is donated by the community.

‘A few years ago I found a rather unique lamp in a skip which I thought might fetch a few pounds.

‘But it ended up selling for £40.’

Other lots have included mechanical ponies.

Sally Outram, from the church, said: ‘The church and town have been together since the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, weathering together the rise and fall of the local oyster industry, enduring the sadness and horrors of war and rejoicing in hundreds of weddings and christenings.

‘With historical context our musical director Sarah Pinnell, is putting together a musical extravaganza drawn from 1840 to the present day in various styles and genres.

‘It’s still in the planning but there will be choral and vocal items, instrumental solos, visual presentation, and last but not least you, the audience.’

The concert is on November 7 and tickets are free.

The auction takes place on Saturday at 2pm but viewing begins at 11am. There is no buyers’ premium and refreshments will be served throughout.

Go to warblingtonwithemsworth.org.