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Portrait of speedway ace sold for Lol

PUBLISHED: 00:07 27 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 March 2010

LONG and dusty the journey may have been, but now the saga of an oil painting of Speedway legend Billy Sanders has roared to a stop.

An anonymous donor has put forward the highest bid of £500 for a painting of the 1970s Witches ace after it was put up for auction by the Evening Star.

LONG and dusty the journey may have been, but now the saga of an oil painting of Speedway legend Billy Sanders has roared to a stop.

An anonymous donor has put forward the highest bid of £500 for a painting of the 1970s Witches ace after it was put up for auction by the Evening Star.

We asked readers to send in their bids to buy the painting in May and the £500 will now go to another speedway rider, Lol Hare, who was left crippled by a high-speed crash.

After a decade of dusty lofts, the painting of the Aussie great, who was part of the winning Witches team in the 1970s, has finally found a home where the painting can be cherished.

The painting's journey began when Jean and David Parkes found the picture in their loft. They had moved in to Billy's old house at Langstons, Trimley St Mary, in 1986 after moving from Lancashire.

Mr Parkes went up in to the loft to put things away and stumbled across the painting.

As the couple had only recently moved to the area, they did not know about Billy or his fame, but after talking to neighbours, they were soon informed.

They took the painting to their estate agents who said they would hand it over to Mrs Sanders' solicitor.

Richard Bannister, of Bannister and Co estate agents and valuers, Hamilton Road, said he had contacted the family's solicitors and the speedway club but no one had seemed to want the artwork.

Mr Bannister then put the painting in to storage and forgot about it, but he came across it again a decade later.

He then gave the painting to the Evening Star to auction to raise money for Lawrence Hare, who was left paralysed after a crash while riding for the Exeter Falcons.

The painting by Karen Hickisson was believed to have been a gift given to Billy on the night of his testimonial meeting at Foxhall.

Billy came to England from Australia at the age of 16 in 1972 and helped the Witches to triumph in the league and knock-out cups.

He won the world championship three times and became the Australian champion six times. He stayed with the Witches for most of his career, but tragically committed suicide in 1985.

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