Students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Farnham who took part in this summer’s Elephant Parade raised more money for charity with their colourful creation than scores of celebrity artists.
Gaia the elephant sold for £20,250 at auction, which is more than works by Sir Paul Smith, Prince Michael of Kent, Tommy Hilfiger and Sir Terence Conran.
The life-sized design, which was painted at UCA Farnham by first year BA (Hons) Fine Art students Carlamaria Jackson, Kevin Darke and Carolyn MacLeod, was the 27th most expensive (out of 260) at the star-studded event which raised a total of £4million for the endangered Asian elephant – double the original target.
Kevin Darke said: "We were all really surprised to achieve such a good price for the elephant, particularly in the current economic climate, but we are all so happy with the result.
"It was exciting to watch the bidding jump up from £4,000 to £20,000 in the last couple of hours. We know the organisers were genuinely pleased with the outcome and so are we."
Carolyn MacLeod, Kevin Darke and Carlamaria Jackson with their elephant This summer’s Elephant Parade, saw the painted elephants take over the streets, parks and squares of London between May and June.
It attracted more than 25million visitors and was the biggest and outdoor art event the city has ever seen.
Organisers receive on average 800 letters a day from the public asking for the elephants to return to the capital.
Carlamaria Jackson said: "We are all so proud to have been a part of the inaugural Elephant Parade and represent UCA.
"It was an amazing experience and a thrill to be displayed alongside some of the biggest names in art, fashion and design.
"We are also delighted to have so many people see our work and, of course, that we helped raise so much money for such a fantastic cause."
Among those at the Sotheby’s charity auction on 30 June were Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Goldie Hawn and Liz Hurley.
For more information, visit the UCA website here