A Banksy artwork painted on the side of a cash-strapped boys’ club has been sold to secure the future of the group.
The elusive artist created ‘Mobile Lovers’ on a boarded-up doorway at Broad Plain and Riverside Youth Project in Bristol, which needs £300,000-a-year to operate.
Club boss Dennis Stinchcombe MBE thought his financial prayers had been answered – until the local council claimed ownership and put the work on display in a museum.
But Banksy then waded in and wrote to Mr Stinchcombe confirming he is the owner and giving his blessing “to do what you think is right with the piece”.
A private collector has bought the work and all proceeds will go to the boys’ club and “affiliate Bristol youth clubs”, according to MM Contemporary Arts which handled the sale.
The price has not been confirmed but estimates valued Mobile Lovers at anywhere between £500,000 and £1million.
Mr Stinchcombe was unavailable for comment but he has previously spoken of his “elation” that Banksy had stepped in.
He said: “It is like having a secret millionaire walk through our door, I really can’t believe it.
“The money is a saviour, if it was not for his [Banksy's] secrecy I would love to shake his hand because he has no idea what he has done for this community.
“I don’t think he realises what this will do for the club, this community and this city.”
A ‘handover’ press conference will be held at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, where Mobile Lovers is currently being exhibited, on Wednesday (27/08).