British artist Banksy set to become the Robin Hood of bridging

British artist Banksy set to become the Robin Hood of bridging


Worldwide graffiti art sensation Banksy has emerged as the unlikely saviour of an ancient Welsh castle, as locals rally to make him the ‘bridger’ in the £2m deal.

‘King of Hay’ Richard Booth ended weeks of speculation over the fate of the building last month, when he told the Hereford Times he was putting the town’s centrepiece on the market for £2 million.

On April 1 1977, Mr Booth proclaimed Hay an Independent Kingdom and he was crowned King and Ruler of the new state. His horse was named Prime Minister in a student that was to earn Hay worldwide publicity.

The sale of Hay-on-Wye’s castle in Powys, Wales has now reached new heights, after the famous graffiti artist was rumoured to be backing the campaign to save it.

The idea is that locals who claim to have approached the reclusive street artist for a bridging loan could then use the money raised to pay him back and open the site up for public use.

Despite estate agent McCartneys confirming the receipt of a ‘very strong’ offer, the campaign to save the landmark goes on.

A Facebook page called Save Public Spaces! Save Hay-on-Wye Castle invites supporters to pledge money towards the iconic building and become ‘King for £1’.

The page states: ‘Join our group of independent thinkers who believe in keeping public concerns public and not just being given to the highest bidder’ - 26 people have ‘liked’ the page so far.

Filmmaker Tamara Gordon who started the group told the Hereford Times: “The impression I am getting is that there is going to be too many people wanting a stake so I am saying first-come, first-served.”

Meanwhile, particulars also show a stone over the castle’s mantelpiece is excluded from the sale, as is a triangular grassed area near the entrance - which is being retained for a proposed statue of the outgoing ‘King’.

Banksy, whose work has previously been sold for huge six-figure sums, hit the headlines recently after designing posters in support of rioters who smashed up a Tesco store.

Banksy produced 2,000 to help fund legal costs for protesters against a Tesco store in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol – his home city.

Now bids for the distinctive prints have reached more than £250 on eBay, with gallery owners complaining that it goes against the ‘anarchist spirit of Banksy’.

James Woodward, owner of Brighton’s No Walls gallery told “As Banksy’s popularity grows, his work is getting increasingly expensive and him selling the posters for a fiver was a nice gesture.

“It was a way of putting his work back in the hands of ordinary people, but it looks like plenty have been snapped up by people looking to make a quick profit.”

In January, Banksy’s film Exit Through The Gift Shop – which told the story of a French immigrant’s obsession with street art - was nominated for a 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

His support of the iconic Welsh castle has filled residents with both hope and determination.

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