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Norfolk crab and lobster auction raises thousands for charity

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 01 July 2010

Cromer and Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival 2010

Cromer and Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival 2010

Ed Foss

The first ever crab and lobster festival in north Norfolk came to a close on Sunday with a charity auction of more than 80 model crustaceans staged in the open air at Cromer.

The first ever crab and lobster festival in north Norfolk came to a close on Sunday with a charity auction of more than 80 model crustaceans staged in the open air at Cromer.

Despite repeated rain showers and a stiff breeze which kept some of the crowds away, there were at least 1,000 people present on the promenade at the end of Cromer Pier as the auction kicked off at 4pm.

Two hours later, just over £15,000 was raised in aid of Help for Heroes and local RNLI stations.

The auction was the last act of the festival, which was focused on the two towns in which it was hosted, Cromer and Sheringham.

Previous activities had included crab catching, cookery, comedy, seafaring crafts, family fun and live music.

Martyn Fox, an auctioneer with Keys in Aylsham, who also has plenty of charity auction experience through his charitable work with his Have Gavel Will Travel brand, was in charge of proceedings.

The auction did not raise quite as much money as was expected, but this was put down to the high number of crabs and lobsters for sale - 82 in all - which in turn drove down the price of each individual. And the poor weather, which had seen a hail storm earlier in the day, meant fewer people were on Cromer promenade than expected.

The North Walsham Hippo Hunt last year saw 35 hippos auctioned and raised more than £30,000.

The top price paid yesterday was for a 3ft crab created by artists Theo Leeds and Laura Vann, which had been in Randalls Electrical.

Former Cromer mayor Keith Johnson paid £800 for the crab and said afterwards: “It is going to go into our garden by the summer house and will take pride of place.

“Everything painted on the crab sums up Cromer and, after being mayor of the town for several years, I was determined to buy it pretty much whatever the cost.”

Talks are already under way to hold another festival next year, pencilled in for the weekend of May 20-22, but it will not feature another sculpture trail along the same lines as the crabs and lobsters.

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