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The Peterborough Festival of Antiques was launched 20 years ago in 1999 by Bob Evans at the East of England Showground with 550 stands.

Exhibitor numbers are four times that now for the biannual two-day festival. Kris Hart, the festival’s manager from the off, says that the upcoming festival on Easter Friday and Saturday (April 19-20) has 2000-plus booked standholders.

He added: “The exhibition hall and main arena are full and we only have a few spaces left in the NatWest building and Cambridge suite. We have extended the marquee village this year and have around 50 new exhibitors at the minute who have not stood at the festival before with more new bookings still arriving daily.”

'Like a big family affair'

Ceramics dealer Susan Skelton, who specialises in Mason’s Ironstone and has stood at the festival since its launch 20 years ago, said: “When we first started dealing here it was in ‘the good old days’. We stood in the NatWest buildings (the old cattle sheds) and when it rained the roof would leak.

"One year it snowed over our stall and my husband got pneumonia. Fortunately soon after they built the Exhibition Hall and we now stand in there and they have re-roofed the NatWest Buildings.

“I have customers who come from Australia, China, Japan, America, Korea and Russia as well as Europe. The fair is always like a big family affair with a very good atmosphere and a great buzz around it”.