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However, the firm said it is looking to restart its events quickly “while taking heed of government advice”.

Kempton, the twice-monthly trade and public event, was due to run next on Tuesday, March 31. The firm’s Sandown event has had its scheduled April 7 date postponed also.  

“It's unprecedented for us to have to cancel, which we've never done since we started business back in 1979,” said owner Edward Cruttenden. “But we’re a family business and looking after the health of our dealers and buyers is paramount.”

Cruttenden had a conference call with Kempton Racecourse owners the Jockey Club this morning, to discuss postponement. “The Jockey Club has been fantastic, as it always has been, in terms of helping our dealers to trade in difficult circumstances.”

'Weekly evaluation'

Sunbury said it would evaluate the situation on a weekly basis.

“We’ll be speaking again on March 31 and see then if we can do something for dealers,” Cruttenden said. “If public health advice allows, we may hold an event outside, with stands spaced to give social distance. Entry and parking would be free, as always.”

In the meantime, Sunbury is offering dealers the opportunity to promote their goods on Sunbury’s own social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.

Regular dealers can email requests for social media posting to: enquiries@sunburyantiques.com.

* To read more about postponed, cancelled or amended fairs and auctions visit Antiques Trade Gazette's latest coronavirus changes article.