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Exeter’s legal community unite for art-inspired fundraising campaign




Members of Exeter’s legal community have gathered in Southernhay to launch a campaign to support Devon Community Foundation, as it develops a cultural tribute following the Cathedral Yard fire.

Property Search Group had the idea to bring together the city’s law firms to raise money, by commissioning a painting of Southernhay and then auctioning it. The painting depicts a ‘day in the life’ of the area, traditionally the city’s legal hub.

Devon artist and illustrator Sara Nunan is creating the painting and law firms have been invited to choose one of their solicitors to feature in the street scene.

Andy Towers of PSG, which provides conveyancing search services to legal firms across the region, said: “The idea behind Southernhay Life came about after talking to colleagues in Exeter keen to show their support for the area impacted by the Royal Clarence fire. Many of the region’s law firms have been based in Southernhay at one time or another, and have a real attachment to the city’s historic centre.

“The reaction has been overwhelming, with 13 prominent law firms taking part and supporting the fundraising. The artwork will commemorate the city’s vibrant past, present and future by creating a legacy for the legal community and raising money for the creation of a cultural tribute to the historic buildings destroyed in the fire.”

Chagford based artist Sara Nunan comments: “When approached by PSG with the idea for a painting of Southernhay, I was delighted to lend my support. I spent several months creating an illustration of Cathedral Yard, prior to the devastating fire. This area of the city is, therefore, very close to my heart. 

“The painting will feature the beautiful and historic buildings in Southernhay, with the Cathedral above the rooftops. The artwork presents a lighthearted and upbeat view of a day in the life of the business area, with solicitors and barristers represented by their hobbies and interests. It is a fun interpretation of the community, while showcasing the vibrancy and beauty of Southernhay.”  

Homes Under the Hammer’s Graham Barton will host the charity auction, being held at the Mercure Southgate Hotel later this month, with the hotel group supporting the campaign by providing the event space for free.

Guests from the legal community will be invited to bid on the original painting and buy prints for their offices. The campaign has already gained support from the Devon and Somerset Law Society.

Tony Steiner, Executive Director, Devon & Somerset Law Society, said: “The area of Cathedral Yard impacted by the fire holds great significance for the region’s legal community.

“On 1 November 1808 The Royal Clarence Hotel, which then was known as ‘The Hotel’, was actually the venue for the inaugural meeting of what is now the Devon and Somerset Law Society.

“Southernhay Life is a fantastic initiative that has been led by PSG. We wish them and the law firms great success in raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

The Fire Fund, administrated by Devon Community Foundation, has already raised over £20,000 and given grants to staff and small businesses affected by the fire. With the Fire Fund now coming to a close, money raised by the Southernhay Life campaign will go towards the creation of a cultural tribute, after a public vote run by the Foundation. 

 This article was submitted to be published by PSG as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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