Clare: Wifi boost for antique auctioneers

Cllr Alaric Pugh with Vanessa Howard, trustee of the Combined Halls of Clare, with auctioneer Robin

Cllr Alaric Pugh with Vanessa Howard, trustee of the Combined Halls of Clare, with auctioneer Robin Stone at a recent auction at Clare Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

The long established history of antiques auctions in a west Suffolk town has been brought into the 21st Century, thanks to a local borough councillor.

Clare features several antiques shops, and sales were held regularly on Market Hill by Dyson and Son and then Mander Auctions until the site was sold for housing two years ago.

Then around six months ago, two local traders Robin Stone and Frank Harris, resurrected the town’s antique auctions at Clare Town Hall but felt trade was suffering because of a lack of wifi at the facility.

So St Edmundsbury Borough councillor for Clare, Alaric Pugh, donated money from his new locality budget to pay for the costs of the wifi installation.

He said: “Clare has a long history with the antiques trade and badly missed its auctions for the past couple of years.

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“This (the wifi) is not only for the benefit of the auction sales, but for the individuals and groups that use the hall in general. It has all kinds of possibilities for the wider community.”

Mr Stone who runs Clare Auctions Ltd with Mr Harris, said: “It would be almost impossible in today’s world to survive without the instant internet access that wifi provides.

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“Whether it is for looking up guide prices, or taking card transactions, it is an essential expectation of modern business. It will also allow us to receive online bids from next year, and to hold the auctions monthly instead of every other month.”

Olive Smith, chairman of the Combined Halls of Clare, said the installation of wifi would attract new groups and organisations to hold their events at the town hall.

The borough council launched its locality budget scheme earlier this year, giving each member £2,500 to benefit projects in their ward.

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