Sutton St James residents fight to save auctions

Residents fight to save auctions in Sutton St James.
Residents fight to save auctions in Sutton St James.
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Villagers from Sutton St James are battling to save Friday night auctions after the village hall committee pulled the plug.

Michelle White and mum Annette White distributed petition forms at the hall on Friday and hope to continue their sales next year rather than be forced to quit on December 18.

“We are gutted but we are going to fight it,” Michelle said.

Their supporters include newly appointed village hall committee chairman Jennifer Garbutt, who is now gathering information in the hope of calling a special meeting to reverse the decision.

Mrs Garbutt said complaints about the auction included an allegation that it had taken six hours to clean the hall afterwards, but she photographed the hall after a recent auction and found it “spotless”.

She said there are petitions, letters and comments on Facebook in support of auctions continuing.

“I think it was one excuse after another to get rid of them by a few people,” she said.

Resident Tina McNeil said the announcement at the November 13 auction that the last sale would be on December 18 had “stopped us all in our tracks”.

She said: “Do they (the committee) not realise that much like the bingo on a Monday, people rely on that Friday for friendship, buying, selling and catching up with local news.

“I felt physically sick that the family (running the auctions) had been treated so appallingly.

“Perhaps the committee would like to organise a regular event on a Friday where people from all walks of life congregate, communicate, have a cup of tea and a snack, sustain their businesses and approximately £3,500 is contributed towards the running of the village hall.”

She says people from surrounding villages attend, everyone is welcome, and South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes attends when he can.

As well as raising cash for the hall, Michelle White says the auctions boost businesses in the village, with the fish and chip shop and butcher’s getting a lot more trade.

Money is also raised for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and other charities.

Miss White, from Moulton, says the air ambulance saved the life of her brother Simon (32) when he had a crash on his motorbike 14 years ago.

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