It was a successful end to the story of Basingstoke’s bookbenches after they raised more than £70,000 for the Ark Cancer Centre Charity when sold at auction on Friday.
A grand total of £95,750 was raised from Sitting with Jane, which saw 22 bookbenches sold for up to £7,000 each.
Three quarters of the money raised will go to the charity towards its £5m project to build a new cancer treatment centre in Basingstoke.
The bookbenches had been dotted around the town and surrounding area between June 17 and August 30 to mark 200 years since the death of Jane Austen, who was born and grew up in nearby Steventon.
Ark trustee Merv Rees said: “Sitting with Jane has attracted a great deal of attention locally, nationally and internationally, and now the charity auction has delivered a superb final chapter.
“The amount of money raised for the charity is a great outcome for the cancer patients and their loved ones who will be helped and supported by the new centre, which will be a beacon of hope.”
Some of the bookbenches will remain in the public eye, after being bought for community use.
The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane bought the Jane Talk bench which they had sponsored, and was among the most visited on the trail in its location in Festival Place.
And NorthHantsMum secured the Girl Power bench for £1,500 after a last-minute donation from Laura and Matt Haystaff of The Topiary Salon in Old Basing.
That followed a crowdfunding campaign to buy a bench that would be kept in Basingstoke for mums and their children to enjoy, with a site for it now being sought.
The idea to create a bookbench trail came from Destination Basingstoke to commemorate Jane Austen.
Managing director Felicity Edwards said: “We are absolutely delighted Sitting with Jane has culminated in raising such an incredible amount for our partner charity.
“It is lovely to know that some of the bookbenches will be staying local too.
“Sitting with Jane has engaged so many people, from the sponsors that funded it, to the schools, artists, venues and communities that looked after the bookbenches so well, and of course to the public who enjoyed it all so much.”