FOR this colourful ‘romp’ of otters, the time came on Monday evening for them to move into their new homes, after they were auctioned off at Farnham Castle.

The auction marked the end of the former mayor Mike Hodge’s charity project - the Otter Wey Trail - with the proceeds to be split between his chosen charities, The Woodlarks Centre and the Brightwells Gostrey Centre.

Proceeds of the auction alone were approaching £15,000, of which around £8,000 was raised from the live auction.

Mr Hodge said: “I am absolutely delighted that the auction was such a resounding success and I am thrilled that through the generosity of bidders at the auction and sponsors of the whole initiative we were able to raise more than £25,000 from the Otter Wey Community Art Project. I am profoundly grateful to everyone involved for making the project such a success, and to the people of Farnham who so warmly embraced and supported it.”

During the exciting live auction 12 of the 44 otters were sold, with the highest bid coming in at £2,000 for an otter created and decorated by Evi Carr-Barney and sponsored by The Hedgehogs. Evi, who recently finished year 11 at All Hallows Catholic School, said: “I thought it would be quite interesting to do something about global warming and the idea that the earth is getting too hot. I am really proud and just excited, I can’t even describe my emotions right now.”

Sally Ross, a member of the Lions Club Of Farnham who co-organised the project, said: “As a committee we are absolutely delighted to have involved the community as a whole. We’re absolutely over the moon to have raised significant funds for the mayor’s two charities.”

Of the remaining otters, five were returned to the community, bought outright or won, and the remaining 27 went to the silent auction. Around 125 people went along to Monday’s auction, one of whom was Mayor of Waverley Denise Le Gal, who said it was “a terrific event”.

She added: “It’s all about community, although they raised a lot of money, it really has brought the community together and well done to Mike Hodge for organising it and for having the vision to bring it together.”

The trail was led by artist Jo Aylwin of Bloomin’ Arts who said: “I think the whole thing has exceeded my expectations.”