It has been launched by Clare O’Neill, the granddaughter of a well-known local silver dealer, George Paterson, who spent his last weeks in the hospice in the Weald.
She has been overwhelmed by the response to her call for standholders at the Tunbridge Wells Antiques Fair, saying: “This has gone above and beyond my hopes for it.
“I already have 50 booked exhibitors and 10 on the waiting list for outside stalls. They are mostly locals who knew my granddad in the trade but we also have some dealers from London and one from France.
“Exhibitors include The Maritime Gallery with maps, Halls Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells with out-of-print books and Otford Interiors with furniture. And of course my grandfather’s silver stall and collection will be there as he would have wanted.”
Paterson stood at local fairs in Mayfield and Wadhurst for more than 30 years. “He became one of the biggest silver dealers in the area,” adds O’Neill. “He was cleaning silver and putting it into auctions right up until the last week of his life. I even had to take him out of the hospice one day as he was determined to get some auction lots in.
“Since I was a little girl I have seen him clean, date and mend silver every day of his life, and over the last five years he has been teaching me the trade. We also had a cabinet together at the Emporium Antiques Centre in Lewes.”
With her grandmother, Patricia Paterson, O’Neill is carrying on her grandfather’s silver business, saying: “I cannot let the knowledge stop.”
O’Neill can be contacted at email@example.com.