THEY may not have actually gone under the hammer but auctioning off parts of an underwater-themed balloon display paid off for a Basingstoke hospice.

Shoppers in The Malls shopping centre, in Basingstoke, admired the underwater balloon creations, constructed by modelling company, Larger Than Life with 100 balloons.

The display, which took four people around four-and-a-half hours to construct, included a coral reef background, a 5ft mermaid, crabs, lobsters and fishes made from different coloured balloons.

The display was subsequently dismantled and sections of the creation were sold to people in an auction to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road.

John Caudrey, owner of Larger Than Life, told The Gazette: “It went very well and I am sure we will do it again. The 5ft mermaid went for £20 so we were really pleased with that.”

Chris Griffiths, marketing and events manager at St Michael’s Hospice, said: “We are incredibly thankful for the fantastic fundraising effort The Malls and John Caudrey at Larger Than Life have undertaken.

“The money will go directly to help local people. We rely on the community to meet our fundraising target, which this year stands at £2.4million.”