Gaywood woman vows to burn Rolf Harris painting

Cathy Sims with the painting of Bonnie Tyler by Rolf Harris. ENGANL00120110612113751
Cathy Sims with the painting of Bonnie Tyler by Rolf Harris. ENGANL00120110612113751

A woman who once thought her treasured Rolf Harris painting was her key to a fortune is said to be considering burning it.

Some experts believe the value of Harris’s works will have plummeted in light of his convictions for indecent assaults for which he has been told to expect a jail term when he is sentenced today.

Cathy Sims, of Gaywood, was elated when she took her painting of pop singer Bonnie Tyler to a recording of BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow in 2011 and was told it could be worth up to £50,000. The painting was once on the wall of her childhood playroom and then that of her son.

This week Cathy, 45, an office manager in Norwich, told The Times newspaper: “I don’t want to keep something like that in my house, but it’s no longer valuable to anyone. It’s an horrific reminder of what Rolf Harris has done and unless I burn it, I don’t know what to do.”

Cathy’s father Chris Sims bought the painting for her for £50 when she was six. Mr Sims was the founder of the Central Employment Bureau, in Lynn. Cathy had spotted the painting at a charity auction in Sutton Bridge and liked it because she thought it looked like her.

After the Antiques Roadshow, Cathy came to the decision she could not afford to insure the painting and tried twice to sell it at auction. On the first occasion at Downham the highest bid was £26,000, but the reserve price was £30,000. Later, in Louth, Lincolnshire, it failed to make the reserve price of £25,000.

Barry Hawkins, Downham auctioneer, said: “As far as I am concerned it may have risen in value. You don’t know until you put it up for auction and I would have no problem in doing that at all. We have had paintings by the Kray twins sell for more than expected.”

Harris was convicted of 12 indecent assaults on four girls aged as young as seven on Monday of last week and was sentenced to five years nine months on Friday.