AN auction of artwork inspired by George the Stourbridge Junction station cat has raised more than £1,000 for the Samaritans.

Original artwork by Kidderminster artist Nellie Doodles went up for auction in a festive Facebook sale, organised by Gig Caritas over the Christmas period.

George's Birthday, George does Hands, Face, Space and George the Tea Boy were just some of the sketch titles inspired by Stourbridge Junction's furry ambassador George the cat who has been helping the station to convey important railway messages and to help lift the spirits of commuters during coronavirus crisis hit 2020.

Charitable arts group Gig Caritas teamed up with George and the artist to host the auction to help raise vital funds for the Samaritans to help those going through a time of crisis and the sale pulled in more than £1,100 for the Brierley Hill branch of the charity which has been struggling to raise funds throughout 2020 due to the pandemic.

David Herrington, of Gig Caritas, said: "There were bids from America, Canada, Australia and all over Europe. One of the artworks was eventually won by a bidder from Japan and one was won by Stourbridge MP, Suzanne Webb, who was delighted to be a winning bidder. The artwork George on Patrol will be on display at her constituency office in Worcester Street."

Stourbridge News: George on Patrol by Nellie DoodlesGeorge on Patrol by Nellie Doodles

The MP said: "I am delighted to be the owner and I am delighted to have supported Brierley Hill Samaritans in the charity auction.

"This organisation does incredibly important work at the best of times but, in this pandemic, its services are absolutely vital in offering support to those who are struggling with lockdown isolation and other issues."

She said the artwork would soon be adorning her office wall and she added: "I hope this local character is recognised by those who visit when we are all able to once again get together."

One of the winning artwork bidders has also offered to become a Samaritans volunteer and George's FC at Stourbridge Junction has volunteered to become a Mental Health First Aider.

David Herrington added: "George's calendar sales also made well over £1,000 for the Samaritans nationally, putting the heart of George, @Nelliedoodles and the Stourbridge Junction hoomans firmly on the kindness map for 2021.

"I'm delighted that I could help, and that Gig Caritas could continue to play its part as an arts fundraising organisation in this difficult climate where we would normally have been running concerts or other events for local charities.

"Here, we have partnered with a fantastic group of people, an exceptional artist and one extra special cat to raise a smile or two, and support a local service that can save lives by listening and being there for people in crisis."