Market auctioneer says time has come to move

Simon Draper - Senior Auctioneer at Thame Cattle Market
Simon Draper - Senior Auctioneer at Thame Cattle Market

THAME Market’s senior auctioneer Simon Draper says his primary focus is to get the market moved into it’s new home within the next two years.

Mr Draper previously worked at Thame for eight years and returned recently after setting up Rugby Farmers Mart near Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.

He said: “I was asked to come back and was delighted to do so. Brian Lloyd, the chairman of Thame Market, asked me to help with the design and move into the new market on the showground.

“It will be a fully undercover modern market with modern penning facilities that we’ve designed ourselves for maximum animal welfare.”

Farmers are now waiting to see if Sainsbury’s will receive planning permission to redevelop the current market site; which will then enable them to move to the showground.

Mr Draper said: “The market is over 50 years old so the time has come to move, it’s past its sell-by date. Lorries are getting bigger and bigger.

“It’s best for us to be on the outskirts of the town, but still close enough to be a part of the town without being right in the middle of it.

“This is a very rural area and the countryside is important to all of us who live and work here, so the market is an asset for the whole community. It is open to everyone and we always welcome members of the public who want to see what goes on here and who want to visit our regular markets on Wednesdays and Fridays.”

More than 4,000 farmers are registered on the market’s database. Mr Draper says that in addition to providing an important service to local farmers, the market serves many farmers from across the south east.

“We cover a very big area,” said Mr Draper.

“Because so many markets have closed, our existence is vital. The nearest markets to us are over 100 miles away in Hailsham, East Sussex and Ashford in Kent.”

In addition to the regular livestock markets for farmers, Thame also hosts smallholders sales four times a year; up to a dozen farm sales; and the biggest one-day sheep fair in the country.

Fieldsmen also visit farmers regularly to advise on the best time to sell their stock and what they can expect to get for their animals.