WE have cause for celebration after a stunning artwork by our patron, world-famous artist Mackenzie Thorpe, sold at auction for £11,000 during a North-East mayor’s fundraising ball.

The piece, called All Together, was bought by prominent Teesside businessman Bill Scott, with the proceeds being split between the North East Autism Society and Eastern Ravens.

They are the chosen charities of Stockton-on-Tees Mayor, Councillor Jim Beall, who staged the ball at Wynyard Hall.

Teesside-born Mackenzie told the audience how his first attempt at producing an artwork for the occasion had been ruined, along with a collection of other pieces, when his studio was flooded by Storm Isha.

However, amid the “devastation”, he produced a second artwork, showing an urban Middlesbrough community scene around a football match, with Roseberry Topping, the Transporter Bridge and Newport Bridge in the background.

Mr Scott, chief executive of Wilton Universal Group, grew up in Portman Street, within the frame of the work of art, and was delighted to overcome the challenge of two fellow bidders in the room.

He said:

When I heard Mackenzie speak about his love for the area, I just thought ‘count me in’ because what he’s done is so special. I know I’ll look at that picture for years to come and see something new every day, and it’s a pleasure to be able to support such wonderful charities.

Mackenzie said:

It’s always challenging to stand in front of an audience and try to raise money for charity by selling a piece of art, but I was totally humbled by the reaction. On behalf of myself and the charities, I want to say a big thank you to Bill and the other bidders.

John Phillipson, chief executive of the North East Autism Society, said: “Whenever Mackenzie speaks to an audience, he moves them with his passion, and inspires them to be proud of their area.

He has a rare gift, not just as an artist but as a speaker, and it’s fantastic that he’s raised such a fabulous amount of money for two charities. Eastern Ravens does a wonderful job in supporting disadvantaged children, and it’s a pleasure to share the proceeds of the auction with them.

Tracey Hamilton, chief executive of Eastern Ravens, said: “I am absolutely blown away. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as Mackenzie spoke, and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done – not once but twice! It sums up the man he is.”

Councillor Beall, who is still calculating the full total raised on the night, added: “I am overjoyed at the generosity of Mackenzie Thorpe in donating the artwork and so grateful to Bill Scott and the others who were bidding. It’s a night I’ll never forget.”