A FAMOUS artist has donated one of his sketches to be auctioned off to raise money for a Dorset mental health support group.

Grayson Perry, renowned for his ceramic vases and paintings, sent a sketch on an A4 piece of paper to the Willow Tree Group, which is based in Blandford.

The sketch, in black ink and pencil, is worth several thousand pounds and will be sold at an upcoming auction hosted by Dorchester auctioneers Duke’s.

Barrie Smith, from the Willow Tree group that offers support to people who are suffering from mental health issues, said that after its funding was cut it had to find £7,000 a year to continue.

He wrote 120 letters to various people and businesses he thought might help including the artist who is famous for wearing frocks and in art circles is best known as a potter.

Mr Smith said: “I had seen Grayson Perry on the news and on the TV and he seemed a sympathetic and caring person who might help.

“I wrote to him via the Saatchi Gallery and a few weeks later a package arrived. Normally I tear these things open but for some reason I didn’t with this one, which was just as well.

“Inside a crush-proof case was a jiffy bag containing the artwork, and the note saying it was worth £2,000. I couldn’t believe it.

“Our group meets once a week for lunch and has been going for 25 years. When our funding was cut we decided to carry on but we had to fund ourselves.

“It is a hugely generous donation from Grayson Perry and was too big for us so I asked Duke’s if they could auction it.”

Amy Brenan from Duke’s said: “The sketch is based upon the mechanics of the mind.

“Grayson Perry has drawn a series of disjointed motorbike engine parts in black ink, highlighted with red pen and shaded with pencil, with speech bubbles enclosing expletives and adjectives describing a disturbed mental state.

“The sketch is extremely powerful and typifies Grayson’s use of contemporary and controversial themes, often with an autobiographical theme.

“For example, phrases used in the sketch include ‘When are you going to take responsibility?’, ‘My Mother was right about you’ and ‘I want a divorce’.

“We are delighted to be able to sell this work and have waived our usual premiums so the group gets as much as possible.”

The sketch will be sold on April 16 together.