Helen and Alan Yourston (pictured in 2018 at Chatsworth House), directors of B2B Events who have now retired and handed over the events held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.

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As revealed in News, ATG No 2626, B2B Events has handed over the reins of its antiques events held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern to a new company called B2B Fairs.

The latter is headed by Debra Scadding, former fairs manager with B2B Events and Sue McIntosh, whose experience at senior management level is in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries.

Long antiques career

This column has been covering B2B Events since its launch nearly 20 years ago.

Here is a snapshot of that journey, focusing on one of the firm’s primary movers, Helen Yourston, whose antiques career began in the late 1980s at Lawrences Auctioneers in Bletchingley.

As Helen Martin, she moved on to full-time dealing at fairs in Carltonware with her then husband followed by a spell at Mellors & Kirk auction house in Nottinghamshire.

In 2006 came the serendipitous moment when she and Roger Sumner, former operations co-ordinator at DMG Antiques Fairs, now IACF, took over DMG’s two fairs at Malvern, part of a revamp of the company’s portfolio. It was called Back to Basics (B2B Events) and off it rolled.

The monthly Malvern Flea Fair with its 300-plus traders is now in poll position as one of the most popular and discussed sell-out fleamarkets in the UK while the annual antiques and collectors’ fair at the ground has many supporters.

Down the years B2B added other fairs to the list, including an ambitious launch in Edinburgh in 2009 that became the largest fair of its kind in Scotland (ended in 2021 due to the Covid effect and rising costs).

In 2010 the company went south and started a fair at the Kent County Showground, Detling, near Maidstone and Alan Yourston, former IACF senior fairs manager whom Martin married in 2017, joined the firm. The Custard Factory in Birmingham, then owned by Bennie Gray of Grays Antiques and Alfies Antiques Market, both in London, was the atmospheric location for an antiques and vintage bazaar from 2013-15.

It was all very full on but the game-changer in terms of a new direction came a few years ago when Helen had a health scare. After 13 years, the Yourstons handed over the Detling fair to Love Fairs in 2023 and this month made another difficult choice to give up the two Malvern events.

Helen said: “I’m having to slow down and as the fairs have been my baby for so long now it was a really difficult decision but I can’t imagine safer hands as Debra has been running the fairs for four years now.”


Debra Scadding, right, and her partner Sue McIntosh, owners of new company B2B Fairs, pictured with their dog Louie.

B2B Fairs’ Debra Scadding said: “I want to ensure Helen and Alan’s legacy continues with great relationships with our exhibitors delivering great fairs for our dealers and the public.”

As to what the Yourstons’ slow-down might look like, they are both keen supporters of 1940s revival events so they are likely to be donning the gear and singing the songs at some of the revival festivals in the UK this year.