27 March 2000
Farmers save Thame stock market

By FWi staff

THE future of the last livestock market in Oxfordshire seems assured after farmers helped raise almost 500,000 to buy the site.

Some 302 applicants have submitted cheques totalling 484,000 after being given 10 days to raise the money to save the market at Thame, Oxfordshire.

The donations mean that a proposal for the agricultural community to purchase the market from South East Marts now looks set to bear fruit.

Thame market, which sells about 1400 sheep each week, is the only livestock auction in Oxfordshire after Banbury market closed in 1998.

Peter Bailey, chairman of the Friends of Thame Livestock Market, said he was staggered by the amount of support pledged to save the auction.

Although the fund is 16,000 short of the agreed total, donations will still be accepted and the full amount looks like being raised, he added.

“The most important point, however, is that there is now no barrier to us completing the purchase at the price put forward by South East Marts.

“A farmer-controlled market enjoying a widespread support base, with the security that offers for an auction facility, is now close to becoming a reality.”

Campaigners launched the plan to buy Thame market at a packed meeting attended by about 500 supporters earlier this month.

In order to finance the purchase, an offer of shares in a newly formed Industrial and Provident Society was made to the local farming community.