Emotional return for Fakenham auctioneer James Beck
Fakenham auctioneer James Beck had an emotional return to his sales room today for the first auction since a motorcycle crash that almost killed him five months ago.
Mr Beck, from Colkirk, was greeted with three cheers and a round of applause when the auction began at 11am and he thanked people for their support throughout his ordeal.
A crash on the A148 Fakenham to King's Lynn road at Sculthorpe on November 13 last year left Mr Beck, 39, in a critical condition for several weeks.
He broke his right collarbone, suffered a damaged right lung, broke seven ribs, suffered internal bleeding and had a stroke.
The latter affected his eyesight and although Mr Beck organised the auction at his sales room on Cattle Market Street, David Gould, from Aylsham was drafted in to do the auctioneering.
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Mr Beck said: 'It has been very emotional and people have been fantastic, welcoming me back and saying nice things. I must have shaken at least 150 hands today.
'I've hardly had a day off since I started working here when I was 16. I love my job and I love working hard so for me to be stuck in hospital and at home for so long has been very difficult. I can't stand daytime television.'
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Roger Camden, 41, from Briston, who has been a regular at Mr Beck's auctions, said: 'James is a brilliant bloke and is very popular around here.
'Everyone has been asking about him over the last few months so it's great to see him back and smiling.
'It's also great for Fakenham to have the auction back. The town has been very quiet recently and this auction brings a lot of people in.'
Mr Beck is the third generation of his family to run what is one of the longest-running businesses in Fakenham.
Currently called James Beck Auctions, it was established as a livestock auction by Mr Beck's grandfather, Colin, in 1896.
Mr Beck said: 'It's been a long, hard, five months but I'm so happy to be back. I hope to be back up auctioneering at some point but, due to my eyesight, it is difficult to say at the moment when that could be.
'I'm now looking forward to a very busy and exciting year for the business. With people now holidaying at home more and the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations taking place this it's going to be a fantastic year for us and for the area as a whole.'
The auction will now run every Thursday from 11am.