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Julian Dawson

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Gorringe’s long-serving partner Julian Dawson was reminiscing about a near 60-year career after putting down his hammer for the last time on December 19.

He took his first auction in 1959 and his career has included presiding over livestock, antiques and general auction sales.

Dawson, now 76, left school and joined Lewes auctioneers, land and estate agents JR Thornton & Co and worked his way up.

He conducted more than 900 sales and the first item he sold was a rabbit which was bought by a butcher.

It was only after the sale that Dawson realised he had sold it below the reserve. He quickly found the butcher and told him the problem.

“The man said ‘well, dear boy you will have to learn’. We will split the difference and you will make up the rest”, Dawson said.

Some of his early work was selling livestock at Lewes Cattle Market, which eventually closed in 1992.

The Lewes branch became Lewes Auction Rooms which Dawson ran for many years. In 2001 the firm merged form Gorringe’s Incorporating Julian Dawson.

The Sussex firm held a party celebrating Dawson’s career at the Garden Street saleroom before Christmas, with 200 people in attendance.

That particular saleroom has closed and the freehold of the site, which Dawson bought around 30 years ago, has been put up for sale.

Gorringe’s will now hold all its auctions under one roof at its North Street site in Lewes.

He said: “When I started I was allowed to take auctions quite quickly and I had to learn from my mistakes. I will be retiring after a wonderful career. I will still be visiting my friends in North Street to say hello.”