by Jon Cronshaw
A campaign to buy the 1950s robot Cygan for Leeds was unsuccessful yesterday when the robot fetched £17,500 at auction.
The campaign to buy the robot was organised by the group Playful Leeds who are launching a year-long series of creative events under the banner March of the Robots.
Cygan, nicknamed Mr Moto, was a fixture in Leeds during the early-1970s when the robot was displayed outside of a Ford dealership in the city.
Playful Leeds raised £7,179 from 117 separate pledges to try and buy Cygan for the city, but were outbid on the day by a private collector in the UK.
But all is not lost. Playful Leeds will be building a 'robot for Leeds' in 2014.
Emma Bearman, chief of play at Playful Leeds, said: “The whole thing has been such a fantastic story so we're not too disappointed that we didn't get him. I think the disappointment will come if we don't find out who the new owner is.
“We really want to invite them to Leeds and keep up with what Cygan is doing.
“The BBC said 'Leeds loses Cygan bid, and I think that it's misleading to put in those terms because it sounds like a failure.
“What it's shown is that there's an appetite in the community to make stuff happen.
“In April we want to build our own robot for Leeds. We want to find out from people what it should look and feel like, what it should do,” added Emma.
Cygan the robot was created in the 1950s by Italian engineer Dr Ing Fiorito.
The robot could walk, turn and lift objects, but has long been deactivated.
Cygan was owned by a private collector from the late-70s until it was sold at Christie's yesterday.