A cancer charity has had a fundraising boost thanks to the auction of a portrait of Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen.
Ark benefited from an online auction in which a councillor bid for a portrait of the world-renowned writer, previously owned by the charity.
The art is now hanging in pride of place in the home of the borough’s ‘first lady’, Mayoress Jane Frankum after her sons, the borough’s Mayor Cllr Paul Frankum and Tony, successfully bid for it as a birthday gift for her.
The charity has so far raised £1.6million of a total £5m needed to build a new cancer treatment centre that will offer support services and therapies alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
Mrs Frankum said the present is particularly meaningful after the passing of her husband Ken, who died from cancer in 2011.
She said: “I am thrilled to be the new owner of this lovely painting. My sons got it for me as a birthday present, and also in memory of Ken, my husband and their dad.
“Our family had a traumatic time during Ken’s illness, having to visit several different hospitals.
“We are all pleased that the money that has been raised through the online auction will help Ark’s campaign to raise vital funds for the new cancer treatment centre.
“Having treatment and supportive services under one roof will make a big difference to people and will help save lives.”
The portrait of the author, who lived in Steventon for much of her life, was painted by artist Lois Cordelia during the charity’s Sitting with Jane project in September.
Sitting with Jane was a 10-week tour of the streets and parks of Basingstoke organised by Destination Basingstoke.
The benches were then sold off raising £70,000 for Ark.