An auction of artwork made by celebrities including Keith Lemon, Jodie Whittaker and Ricky Wilson has raised more than £20,000 for a North Herts charity.

The stars joined more than 150 artists in creating a unique collection of campervan images, all to raise money for North Herts and Stevenage Samaritans.

The collection, dubbed the Samarivans, has been co-ordinated by Hertfordshire artist Sarah Graham, and helps a cause close to her heart after the charity supported her through bipolar disorder.

"I know from personal experience how important the Samaritans can be when you are in deep distress," she said.

The Comet: Katharina Kubrick was another celebrity name involved in the Samarivans project.Katharina Kubrick was another celebrity name involved in the Samarivans project. (Image: Sharon Cooper Photography)

"I wanted to find a creative way to fundraise and get the local community involved. I also really hope this raises awareness for local people that the Samaritans are there for them when they need to talk to somebody."

Hitchin-born celebrities, musician James Bay and former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton, have contributed their artworks, along with former pop star and Codicote resident Kim Wilde.

"I was so pleased to take part in this and I'm wishing the Samarivans every success," said Valerie. 

"It is such a worthwhile cause and a wonderful Hitchin story. I just hope my effort with the paintbrush can raise some much-needed funds."

The Comet: Hitchin-born musician James Bay and his Samarivan.Hitchin-born musician James Bay and his Samarivan. (Image: Sharon Cooper Photography)

Kim added: "The VW motif has been interpreted in so many different ways for this Samarivans exhibition. Each one of us sees the world and our place in it uniquely, but we all have the same bones, everyone needs someone to lean on sometimes.

"I'm so grateful for the vital work the Samaritans volunteers do for us all and really enjoyed the VW painting to support such a wonderful cause."

READ MORE: Hitchin BID reveals future of vacant town centre units

Comedian Joe Lycett also got involved, as well as Keith Lemon, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson and Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker.

And it appears Doctor Who fans are deperate to get their hands on Jodie's artwork, with the bidding on her piece currently standing at more than £4,500.

The Comet: Jodie Whittaker's Samarivan has had bids up to £4,500.Jodie Whittaker's Samarivan has had bids up to £4,500. (Image: Sharon Cooper Photography)

Artists took inspiration from Hitchin too, with James Willis using St Mary's Church as the backdrop for his Samarivan.

"I was delighted to be asked by Sarah to contribute to her Samarivans project," he said. 

"Her enthusiasm, empathy and creativity in raising awareness of mental health issues and the stigma attached to them needed celebrating.

"As artists we both use paint to communicate, as residents of Hitchin we love our town and its buildings, and as people we have struggled with our mental health at times.

"In my Samarivan, I have tried to show all these aspects with a portrait of Sarah, our parish church of St Mary's, and a colourful van.

"It is my tribute to honour Sarah in her valuable work. However dark the world is, creativity and self-belief will help us get through and make it a better place for everyone."

The Comet: Artist James Willis paid tribute to Sarah and used Hitchin as the inspiration for his Samarivan.Artist James Willis paid tribute to Sarah and used Hitchin as the inspiration for his Samarivan. (Image: Sharon Cooper Photography)

Hitchin MP Bim Afolami sat down with Sarah to paint his Samarivan, saying: "Sarah is such a brilliant local artist and she is also a wonderful advocate for Samaritans.

"She talks so eloquently about how Samaritans services have provided an important lifeline to her in her times of distress.

"The Samarivans idea is brilliant - and it has produced some jaw-dropping artwork from our fantastic and thriving local arts community, as well as from further afield.

"A project like this really does show Hitchin at its best - homegrown talent, inspirational ideas and immense hard work.

The Comet: Bim Afolami creating his Samarivan with Sarah Graham.Bim Afolami creating his Samarivan with Sarah Graham. (Image: Sharon Cooper Photography)

"The team at North Herts and Stevenage Samaritans does such a good job, not just answering calls but also carrying out vital outreach work locally.

"I'm so pleased that Samarivans is raising awareness of what they do. My congratulations to Sarah and all the fantastically talented artists who have contributed.

"I loved creating my own Samarivan, and am particularly proud of my newly discovered artistic skills."

The Samarivans auction is still open, and you can place your bid for any of the artwork at