Unique collection finds new home at West Runton auction

Two of the three romany caravans for sale from the collection of David and Jonquil Bakewell at the H

Two of the three romany caravans for sale from the collection of David and Jonquil Bakewell at the Hillside Animal and Shire Horse Sanctuary in West Runton. Pictured is David and Jonquil in a open lot bow top caravan and a Burton caravan behind. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Some of the area's most vulnerable residents could soon benefit from a rare piece of north Norfolk's rural history.

Judi Burrage, who runs Brambles Therapeutic Care Farm in Bedingham, bought a stunning bowtop horse-drawn Romany caravan at auction on Saturday.

She made a 70-mile round-trip from her home to secure the top lot, with its fully decorated and complete interior, at a sale of bygones in West Runton.

And the registered mental health nurse, who has over 30 years of nursing experience, revealed she could offer it as a holiday let.

Her care farm is used by a range of individuals capable of benefiting from outdoor activities and spending time on a farm, including those with mental illnesses and conditions and also people with some physical problems requiring recuperation.

After beating off competition from a rival bidder for the rare caravan, Ms Burrage, who paid £5100 for the lot, said: 'I am very pleased, it is a work of art and something we will keep in the family and treasure.

'We don't have anything as spectacular as this on the farm currently, it is something different.'

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But she added: 'It is something that will attract people to come and have a look on the farm and who knows we may even put it up for a holiday let.'

Around 350 lots were put up for auction at the sale, including vintage tractors, horse-drawn carts, wagons and caravans, vintage farm machinery and equipment, and harnesses.

And together they fetched a grand total of £40,000.

Collected over nearly half a century by the Bakewell family, they formed part of the Norfolk Shire Horse Centre Collection, housed at Hillside Animal and Shire Horse Sanctuary which were being sold to to make room for the sanctuary to house more animals.

Other lots included a 19th century showman's caravan, a genuine vintage shepherd's hut and three 1940s vintage tractors.

The auction, which was conducted by Norfolk-based agricultural specialists Irelands, part of Arnolds Keys group, attracted more than 300 people from all over the country.

Simon Evans, who heads Irelands' specialist agricultural arm, said: 'We've had a huge number of people turn up, the car park is at capacity, and it has gone really well.

'It was quite a unique collection for us.

'Traditionally we'd be selling modern farm machinery and equipment and in that you would find a few items of bygone but this is just a complete collection.

'We have got people who have come from Scotland, Yorkshire and Linconshire. It has attracted collectors and the travelling community as well as farmers who have a love of the machinery of bygone years.'