Auction proves a lot of fun

It had been a case of going, going gone.

But on Saturday it was coming, coming back as the decades-long tradition of an old-fashioned outdoor auction returned to Swaffham.

The sound of the bell – rung out by Manny the stick man – drew cheers from the dozens of people who ignored the autumn showers to enjoy the unique atmosphere of a market place auction and look for a bargain.

David Gilham, 56, of Rougham, near Swaffham, used to go the auctions as a six-year-old boy with his grandfather Victor Thompson when livestock and poultry were under the hammer as well as an array of weird and wonderful objects,

Mr Gilham has now revived the monthly sale and while nothing live is now sold, the variety of the 400 lots was as fascinating as ever.

From a rocking horse to a horse drawn plough and from a pair of legs with red stilettos from a model to a slightly soggy copy of an old VW Polo car manual, the sale had it all.

'We're up and running!' shouted the former shepherd and pigman as he started the first auction since Tyrone Roberts finished in 2007.

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Mr Gilham said he wanted to get sales back to their glory days.

'When I came as a boy everyone knew everyone and it was an amazing atmosphere and that is what I want to re-create. I can intermingle with everyone and it is the buzz of it which I love.'

So what happens when it rains (as it did steadily before Saturday's sale began)?

'We just put the umbrella up!' joked Mr Gilham, who also runs auctions at Caister on Saturday evenings.

Mr Gilham had a team of helpers including his partner Rita 'er indoors' Barnett – who described him as 'magic.'

'We started doing the auctions at Caister to help the youth club and didn't know much about it. It is fun and David interacts well with the vendors and purchasers and makes people feel at ease. This has taken him back to his childhood.'

David Wickerson, from Swaffham Town Council. said: 'Auctions have been going in Swaffham for decades and it is part of our tradition and heritage and a social event.

'We have been working very hard to find an auctioneer and it is wonderful for it to be back.'

The next auction at Swaffham will be on Saturday, November 13 with viewing from 9.30am and the sale from 11am.

Mr Gilham can be contacted on 07900 314506.