The Charity Promises Auction in aid of SURE at the Old Sale Rooms in Mantle Street on Saturday 13 April is certain to go with a bang now that former auctioneer Ray Cooper has been tempted out of retirement to raise his gavel once more.
“I’m pleased to help as this is a really good cause. It’s a local charity and I think people will relate to that. It’s difficult to say how much we’ll make but I hope it’s a lot! And it’s nice to be back in the building,” said Ray
This is the first time that Ray has acted as an auctioneer in the building where he once worked and which he still owns, although he has done the occasional auction for charity in pubs and churches. Before he retired in 2005 he also ran sales at Taunton Market for Maynard and Barber in Hammet Street, having learned his trade with various estate agents in the Home Counties.
The sale has attracted over fifty generously-donated ‘promises’ – including paintings, jewellery, domestic items, vouchers, golf lessons, a Relyon bed and a 5-star Algarve holiday for up to 6 people.
Organiser Jane Osborne said, “We’re hoping to get about a hundred people here. The numbered promises catalogue – including food and a free glass of wine – is £5 per person and this money also goes directly to SURE. It would be good to raise a considerable sum.”
The Old Sale Rooms, a former chapel, became vacant in 1971 following the congregation’s move to Waterloo Road. The building bought by a property speculator and Ray Cooper rented it to run as a sale room, adding a second floor across what was the nave of the chapel.
In the late 1970s he bought the property himself and moved with his family into Chadwell Cottage at the rear of the building. Following his last sale – and retirement – in 2005 The Lighting Company acquired the lease. In 2011 current tenant Jane Osborne took over, selling furniture, antiques and curiosities and, in their midst, created a charming and popular tea room.
The proceeds of the Charity Promises Auction will go to SURE to fund radiotherapy equipment for the Beacon Centre at Musgrove Park Hospital. The centre treats cancer patients who, formerly, had to travel to Bristol. SURE, a registered charity, has already provided equipment worth more than £500,000 as a result of its fund-raising. Now the target is a Synergy X-Ray machine to provide 3D information for advanced cancer treatment at The Beacon Centre. The unit already has one of these machines – which cost £450,000 – but it needs a second to enable more patients to be treated. Money raised at the auction will go towards raising this total.
All the ‘promises’ will be on display at the Old Sale Room from Monday 8 April.