THERE is still time to get in the running to bid for one of the unique Jane Austen-themed BookBenches and support a local cancer charity.

On Friday the 22 Sitting With Jane BookBenches will be sold at auction and 75 per cent of the proceeds raised will go to the Sitting With Jane charity partner Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Last weekend, Sitting With Jane fans visited the Farewell Event at Milestones Museum when members of the public were able to see all of the BookBenches ahead of the auction.

The Farewell Event provided some Sitting With Jane fans with the opportunity they needed to complete the BookBench trail and unlock the final apps.

Merv Rees, Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee, said: “Sitting With Jane has attracted a great deal of attention locally, nationally and internationally, and the Farewell Event gave many people the opportunity to complete the trail.

“Now the focus is on Friday’s charity auction when hopefully each of the BookBenches will raise several thousand pounds, which will make a significant difference to Ark’s campaign to help fund the new cancer treatment centre.

“If a business or individual donor wants to support Ark, leave a lasting legacy, and own a unique piece of Jane Austen 200 history, then buying a BookBench is a great way to achieve all of these goals.”

The auction will take place at The Ark Conference Centre. It is being organised by fine art auctioneers and valuers Andrew Smith & Son.

The auction will start at 7.30pm and the registration desk will be open from 6.30pm-7pm. The auction will be live-streamed on Facebook.

Bidders will also be able to post bids online or by telephone on the night, but in order to bid for one of the BookBenches, potential bidders must register beforehand by going to

While auction ticket holders will be able to register to bid on the night in person, they need to do so before the auction gets underway, and they need to bring two forms of ID, including a utility bill. All other registration or commission bids must be with the auctioneers by noon on Friday.

The vital funds raised by Ark Cancer Centre Charity will ensure that a range of support services and complementary therapies are available alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in a calm and uplifting environment.

Largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the new cancer treatment centre will be built in the Basingstoke area