Auction to fight mine plans

A unique musical instrument that was used to play the theme tune for an iconic children’s TV show is being auctioned to raise money to fight opencast mining plans.

The Auto Harp has been donated by folk singer Sandra Kerr, who with John Faulkner wrote the music for the TV series Bagpuss, and voiced the character of Madeleine Remnant, the rag doll.

The instrument was previously owned by folk music legend Peggy Seeger, who was married to the singer and songwriter Ewan MacColl.

It is one of many lots in an auction organised by the Save Druridge group.

Also under the auctioneer’s hammer will be numerous other items, including a trip on the River Tyne donated by Highlights PR.

The star lot, however, is a classic sports car, an MG donated by Max Tait, one of the Save Druridge members. The bright red sports car will be insured for a month, with 12 months MOT, taxed and comes with a full tank of petrol.

Max said: “The car is my pride and joy, but if the auction raises the money we need it will go a long way towards helping to keep Druridge Bay’s peaceful atmosphere and unique qualities. I’ll miss the car, but would miss the lifestyle of Druridge even more.”

Supporters believe that if the mine were to start it would have a damaging effect on tourism at nearby Druridge Bay, dramatically increase numbers of HGVs on local roads, adversely affect health, damage the fragile ecosystem and ignore the effects of climate change, which burning coal causes.

Local people lobbied the Government to ‘call in’ the planning application as they feel that it is out of line with current planning and environmental policies.