All 25 stars of the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail, which came to the city this summer as part of Magna Carta celebrations, were reunited for one final time before being sold off at auction.
In one of the quirkiest charity events the city has seen, some 250 of hopeful bidders gathered at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel, as well as taking part in an online bidding frenzy for the sculptures.
In total, bidders raised £167,000 for national food bank charity the Trussell Trust.
The event was hosted by Lincs FM presenter Ross Garrigan, with local professional auctioneer Ian Walter of JH Walter.
Of the much-loved sculptures which went under the hammer on October 1, Lincolnshire Day, some even achieved five-figure purchases.
The Bomber Baron, a WWII Bomber Command Pilot sponsored by Pipers Crisps was the most successful lot, with a winning bid of £11,000.
The Red Arrows Baron, sponsored by Virgin Trains, also did well, fetching £10,200 and the Wings of an Angel baron sold for £10,000.
Together with Salisbury’s Charter Barons Auction, the cities raised £250,000 for the chosen charity.
Lincoln businesswoman Dawn Barron was behind collection sponsors for the trail. She said: “The journey actually started in the Hilton hotel. Lincoln BIG’s Matt Corrigan said to me when we were here for a business meeting that we have this opportunity to join Salisbury in this wonderful programme.
“I thought it would be really quirky, modern and brilliant for us to do. We didn’t know if we would get the sponsors with so much going on for Magna Carta this year, but we were committed.
“In five weeks we went from hoping that we would have ten to having the full 25 barons, representing those who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta.”
South of England Network Manager for Trussell Trust, James Milton, said: “We had no idea how this would grow the public’s heart. They are lovely characters in the street but they have become people’s lives over the last few months.
“We are so grateful to Lincoln BIG and for Wild in Art for making this happen.
“The simple, practical gift of food and support at the point of crisis changes lives.”
Ursula Lidbetter, a Lincoln BIG Director, added: “The barons trail has been fantastic. At Lincoln BIG we do fun things and what a great thing to be involved in, it’s been off the scale.
“Everywhere we’ve gone there have been families taking pictures, people looking for the codes and it’s been brilliant.
“One early morning I spotted that every baron had been knitted a scarf!
“We have to keep this momentum going. We can’t keep doing the same thing but we will do more and better.”
Thousands of fans of the characterful sculptures enjoyed visiting the barons along a special trail which was created by Lincoln BIG, in collaboration with Wild in Art and the national food banks charity The Trussell Trust.
The feature was part of a host of celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
The barons were each sponsored by businesses and organisations and each was individually painted and given their own identity by a variety of talented artists who worked closely with sponsors on the designs.
A Steampunk Baron, Squadron Leader Baron, Bee Keeper Baron and a Mayor of Lincoln Baron were among the collection.
Their popularity even sparked movements to keep them on the streets.
Hundreds of people came together in order to campaign the loss of the barons, with over 4,000 people ‘liking’ a Facebook page set up to make that barons a permanent fixture in the city.
The group didn’t manage to win a baron, but raised £1,070. The money will go directly to the Trussell Trust.
Take a trip back in time: