A BLACK cat similar to those seen scampering along roof tops around York will go under the hammer at the Lord Mayor's charity auction tonight.

The resin sculpture has been donated to the cause which is in aid of York Blind And Partially Sighted Society and Martin House Hospice.

The annual fundraiser is a black-tie Valentine's Ball, at York Racecourse, organised by the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Irene Waudby.

These cats are the trademark of one of York's best-known architects, Tom Adams, who commissioned them to be placed on many buildings across the city.

Entitled "Black cat sitting and watching", it is the 16th cat created by sculptor Jonathan Newdick and was due to adorn the walls of the converted F R Stubbs building.

Mr Adams, a father-of-three, died in 2006, aged 75, before the scheme was complete.

He first started signing his drawings with the distinctive animal while an architecture student in the 1950s. But it was not until 1979 that he first put a black cat sculpture on his first design - the former Mothercare building, in Coney Street.

The signature black cats can be seen on the city's high places including Barnitts, in Colliergate, and the Meltons Too restaurant, in Walmgate.

The Sheriff's Lady, Karen Hyman, said: "Jonathan Newdick is a friend of mine and he wanted to do something to help us in our civic year. He came up with the idea of auctioning the black cat this week.

"It is such a fantastic auction prize to have. We are really excited about it. We just want it to raise as much as possible. It is a unique prize because it is the last one."

She said they hoped it would be bought by someone in York who would put it on a building for all to see. "It is not designed to be stuck on a mantelpiece."

Other prizes include jockey Frankie Dettori's whip and a silver service dinner in an Army field kitchen.