ST RICHARD’S Hospice has thanked everyone involved in its Worcester Stands Tall project after smashing its fundraising target by almost £100,000 through the sale of 31 giraffe statues.

The hospice, on Wildwood Drive, Worcester, aimed to raise a conservative £120,000 but saw the giraffes’ combined total reach more than £210,000 during an “incredible” auction on Thursday night.

Sara Matthews, project manager, said it has been “the biggest” scheme St Richard’s “has ever held” with a follow-up potentially on the table.

“If we did, it would be in 2020, but we will have to wait and see,” she said.

Earlier this month, the Worcester Stands Tall giraffes were rounded up after more than 10 weeks on display across the city – with 3,000 people then attending a farewell event at the cathedral.

Thousands had flocked from far and wide to follow the trail before the uniquely decorated 8ft artworks were sent to auction at drp Group, in Hartlebury.

The event was labelled a “towering success” by the hospice’s fundraising director Tricia Cavell, with the two most profitable statues being Giraffsy Graffiti and Girafficorn – both taking £15,000 each.

While the smallest fee paid was still an impressive £4,500.

The auction was hosted by Free Radio’s Tom Newett and Hursty and featured Flog it! and Bargain Hunt auctioneer Philip Serrell.

It was live streamed, with the hundreds in attendance up against phone and online bids.

The hospice is still counting all funds raised across the project and was keeping tight-lipped when pushed for an estimated overall figure by the Worcester News.

Ms Cavell said the team were “thrilled” to raise the money for the Build 2020 Appeal.

“The funds raised will make a huge difference to our project to expand and redevelop the hospice – ultimately allowing us to extend our care to more patients and families,” she said.

“To all of the buyers, artists, sponsors, partners, supporters, schools, community groups and public who helped make this project possible – we would like to say a sincere thank you for your immeasurable support.

“Together, we have truly stood tall for Worcester and beyond,” she added.

Alongside the 30 adult giraffe statues, which were decorated by artists, 27 smaller calves were also on display in the city – with one, Lily the Pink, auctioned off too.

Most of the smaller giraffes were decorated by schools and community groups and have now returned home to them as a legacy to the project.

Dave Graesser, a businessman from Hanbury, near Droitwich, bought the Snowdrop sculpture for £8,000 to be gifted back to the hospice, where his wife, Sue, is a resident.

The statue was painted by artist Katie Hodgetts, whose granddad was cared for at St Richard’s before his death in 2016.

The hospice had earlier launched the Save Our Snowdrop campaign to buy the giraffe, raising £1,700.

Mr Graesser, whose wife Sue is being cared for in the hospice In-patient Unit, said the couple wanted to support St Richard’s as a way of thanking them for all they have done.

“We have first-hand experience of hospice care since we were introduced over two years ago,” he said. “Everybody involved is caring and full of love.

“Sue and I talked about helping to save Snowdrop for the hospice and she’s delighted – it’s really given her something to smile about.

“To us, Snowdrop reflects the fact that so many people love and support St Richard’s and will help people to understand they are not alone.

“We hope when Snowdrop is in the hospice garden that she will bring a smile to the faces of those that see her and also act as a distraction from whatever they are dealing with at that moment.”

Mr Graesser also praised the hospice for the support they have given him and the couple’s son, Josh, during Sue’s illness.

Snowdrop will have company at the hospice as another giraffe sculpture, Touch the Wishing Star, designed by Toyah Willcox, was also donated to the hospice by its winning bidder.

John Sheen bought the sculpture in memory of his daughter Sarah Trueman, who was cared for by St Richard’s before she died in August, aged 31.

Mr Sheen said: “I thought it was appropriate to bid for Wishing on a Star as hopefully she is up there looking at us.”

He added: “I hope that children will go and see the giraffe if their grandparents or parents are ill and they can wish on that star.

“It’s also in memory of my daughter and will always be there.”

The hospice’s Build 2020 appeal aims to raise the funds needed to build a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and loved ones to be cared for in the future.

The total cost of the project is £5.3 million.

To find out more about St Richard’s Hospice and to show support for its Build 2020 Appeal, visit

Worcester Stands Tall is a Wild in Art project, brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice. The auction was supported by Barclays.

The project is supported by presenting partners Worcestershire Ambassadors and Crowngate Shopping Centre, education partner West Midland Safari Park and media partners Free Radio and Worcester News.

See to see how much each giraffe was sold for.