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‘Supreme champion’ Christmas turkey fetches £72 as poultry auctions spark festive bidding frenzies

Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman

Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman

Andy Newman

The chance to grab a fresh Norfolk turkey for the Christmas dinner table sparked a festive bidding frenzy at traditional poultry auctions across the county this week.

The 2018 TW Gaze Christmas poultry show and sale in Diss. Picture: Simon KirkThe 2018 TW Gaze Christmas poultry show and sale in Diss. Picture: Simon Kirk

In Diss, a total of 242 birds including turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl were sold amid a packed saleroom as auctioneers TW Gaze held their Christmas Poultry Show and Sale on Thursday.

Before the bidding started, the poultry were judged by chef Freddie Jones, who trained at The Savoy, worked at Maxim’s in Paris and was captain of the 1993/94 British Cooking Team.

He commended the high quality of the birds, all of which were entered by local producers, and awarded the Supreme Champion title to a 23lb 2oz turkey, entered by Mrs Hancy of White House Farm, Banham. The bird was also the highest selling lot of the night, making £72 under the gavel of auctioneer Edward Smith.

Earlier the same day, Aylsham saw the return of a festive tradition dating back to 1953 as Keys held its annual Christmas poultry sale.

Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman.Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman.

It was another very good turnout for the sale, which saw slightly fewer birds up for auction than in previous years, particularly turkeys, reflecting a national downturn in turkey production this year, according to auctioneer David Gould.

Prices were accordingly strong, with competitive bidding as buyers sought to secure their Christmas birds, he added.

There are still two last-gasp chances to secure a fresh local bird for the Christmas table.

Auctioneer Fabian Eagle, now in his 33rd year of Christmas poultry sales, will host the second of two seasonal auctions at The Racetrack in Swaffham from 11am on Saturday, December 22.

Auctioneer David Gould on the rostrum at Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman.Auctioneer David Gould on the rostrum at Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham. Picture: Andy Newman.

And later on Saturday afternoon hundreds more birds will be sold at the annual Christmas poultry sale at Norwich Livestock Market on Hall Road. The sale starts from 2pm, with gates opening at 1pm.

Market chairman Stephen Lutkin said dozens of local suppliers will be sending their poultry, some oven-ready, some long legged for sale by auction.

“This is the traditional way to buy your Christmas meal,” he said. “People have bought their Christmas dinner by auction for centuries. Do come along and enjoy the atmosphere.”

The 2018 TW Gaze Christmas poultry show and sale in Diss. Picture: Simon KirkThe 2018 TW Gaze Christmas poultry show and sale in Diss. Picture: Simon Kirk

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