ONE OF the leading auction houses in the north of England has appointed the former manager at Newark Livestock Market, Paul Gentry, as its new head of auctioneering.

After 27 years at Newark, following five years at Banbury, Mr Gentry has been appointed as general manager of farm stock sales for North West Auctions (NWA), part of the L and K Group, which operates auction centres at both Lancaster and Kendal (Junction 36).

His role is to head up the auctioneering team in both centres, though he has also agreed with Melton Mowbray Livestock Centre and NWA to be able to conduct specialist sales of pedigree cattle and sheep on a joint basis between these two companies.

North West Auctions has, in recent years, invested heavily in new facilities at Junction 36, making it one of the most accessible auction centres in the UK and plans are currently underway for a similar project at Lancaster. Melton Mowbray Market has recently undertaken a £5m refurbishment of its cattle facilities is keen to increase its profile within the industry.

Mr Gentry told The SF why he was keen to maintain his interest in pedigree sales: "My involvement with the Limousin breed started whilst at Banbury, with Midland Marts, in my apprenticeship days when I was responsible for catalogue production and have fond memories of the Oakley and Uplands sales, together with dispersal sales of many herds including Tanhill and Uplands when Midland Marts acquired the business of John Thornborrow and Co.

"When arriving at Newark in 1992, I was made welcome by the Hazard and Pitcher families who sold quality prime cattle through Newark of pure Limousin breeding and I quickly became involved with the East Midland Limousin Breeders Club and after the horrific foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 it was decided by the club to stage Limousin sales at Newark each year," he said.

"From a very small seed indeed, a mighty oak grew and through the efforts of both the club and myself the sales grew and grew and indeed in recent years 250 plus lots were commonly catalogued."