Giving Back at the Canterbury Auction Galleries


Kent’s leading fine art auctioneers The Canterbury Auction Galleries has been giving back to the community it serves for decades. Now, as the country slowly emerges from coronavirus lockdown, charitable giving among its directors and staff has shifted into overdrive.

 The Canterbury Citadel of the Salvation Army became the main beneficiary of The Canterbury Auction Galleries four years ago and in that time more than £20,000 has been donated to further the aims of the charity among needy families, the elderly and vulnerable in the community.

 The saleroom’s initial aim was to finance the refurbishment of the Citadel’s kitchen and drop-in centre, which is open for anyone to call in at least five days a week and also open for Christmas dinners, but during the lockdown, Chairman Tony Pratt has been helping to deliver food parcels around the city and surrounding area.

 “I know from personal experience what a splendid job the army and its volunteers do with fairly limited funds,” Tony Pratt said. “When the Citadel and drop-in centre closed close due to the virus, they switched to providing food parcels tailored to the needs of elderly and vulnerable adults and families in desperate need.

 “Local supermarkets, who also champion the Salvation Army, donate certain basic foodstuffs and The Canterbury Auction Galleries swiftly made an initial donation of £500 and a further donation of £500 to supplement supplies. We are all really proud to support this worthwhile initiative and I and my colleague Neil Ellis, our photographer and porter, have been helping to deliver the parcels personally in and around Canterbury.”


 Neil Salvation

 Major Mandy Sands, the Officer in Charge of the Canterbury Citadel, expressed her thanks for the continuing kindness during the current crisis. “We would like to thank everyone at The Canterbury Auction Galleries and their supporters for the kind donations that we have received to help our work,” she said .“We have been able to support many elderly and vulnerable individuals and also families who are struggling financially due to job loss, or problems with benefits or other circumstances.

 “Food parcels are prepared and delivered twice a week. We also include toiletries in the packs, and if appropriate, craft items and games for the children, many of whom do not have gardens in which to play during the lockdown. We also try to include some 'treats' like chocolates and biscuits to cheer people up in these difficult days. The demand for our help has increased and we expect this to continue to be so until the Autumn. Thank you once again for helping us to love and care for our community.”

 The saleroom’s initiative raises the money from its clients and regular buyers who make a donation of normally £40 instead of paying the annual subscription for auction catalogues. Further money is raised by Tony Pratt and fellow Directors Cliona Kilroy and Dave Parker from fees raised for talks given to local groups and societies, outside valuations days and from the sale of goods donated by clients.

 In pre-lockdown days, The Salvation Army also does the sale catering, which includes sandwiches and homemade cake and provides saleroom staff lunches on viewing and auction days as an “Outreach Programme” staffed by a range of volunteers. All proceeds provide a further income stream for the charity and this will continue when normality returns. Auctions are currently being conducted online only.

 “In the past, we sponsored the provision of musical instruments for children who receive weekly tuition classes at a minimal cost from members of the Salvation Army Band and we are also just about to purchase more instruments to replace others that are now old and worn out,” Tony Pratt said. “We are passionate supporters of both The Salvation Army and other local charities.”

 For further information, please contact Tony Pratt at The Canterbury Auction Galleries, telephone 01227 763337.

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