An original art work by Axel Scheffler, the award winning illustrator of international bestseller The Gruffalo, is to be auctioned in aid of arts programmes for children and adults with additional support needs.

The unpublished piece, a colourful under the sea illustration for Julia Donaldson’s much loved children’s book Tiddler, will be up for grabs at Artlink Central’s tenth charity art auction on Saturday 22 April at Bridge of Allan Parish Church Halls at 6.30pm.

It is hoped the sale will raise vital funds to allow charity Artlink Central to continue running arts projects for people experiencing mental illness, learning difficulties or social exclusion in Central Scotland. Therapies range from an animation project at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where young patients have been learning how to bring their own hand-drawn characters to life, to a drama group for adults with learning disabilities.

Critically acclaimed picture book pair Axel and Julia are huge fans of the charity’s work, as the illustrator explained: “Art is so important for everyone; I think it’s wonderful what Artlink Central do, especially for children. Julia has been a major supporter of the charity for many years now, and I am always happy to help when I can. I really hope the auction piece will do well on the night. It’s an alternative version of an illustration for the book Tiddler, which features a little grey fish who loves to tell tall tales.  Often I start a picture for a book but I don’t finish it, I don’t always know why. But if I like it, like this one, I will go back and finish it later. Sometimes the ones which don’t go into the books are even better. I am rather fond of Tiddler, he loves to daydream. Although it gets him into a lot of trouble, so I’m not sure he’s a good role model!”

To mark the auction’s 10th anniversary, the event will also feature a special performance by Scottish Jazz Legend Carol Kidd MBE. The singer, who has turned to painting in recent years to combat depression, has also donated two lots to the auction: a self portrait and an autographed copy of Carol Kidd Gold.

Carol said: “I do feel a lot of empathy with Artlink and the work they do. When I lost my partner John Mackay I was so depressed. He went very suddenly. I think I was dying in front of my kids eyes. I’d always liked to sketch and my daughter turned up one day with an easel, canvases, paints and brushes. Everything I would need and she said “I want you to start painting”. I’d never put paint on anything before, it was always just sketches. So for me, the pure therapy of painting got me through what was a very bad time. So I really do feel that any kind of arts therapy, whether its musical therapy or painting therapy, is such a good thing to be involved in.”

Works by leading Scottish artists, such as Graham Stewart, Cate Inglis, Barbara Rae and Calum McClure, will also be auctioned on the evening. Tickets for the event, which includes wine and a light supper, are on sale for a donation of £15 or more at www.artlinkcentral.org