As a months’ worth of rain started to fall in 24 hours, charity supporters at a car boot sale with a difference were faced with a stark choice – get wet, or pack up and go home.
And as 1,000 bargain hunters rushed for their cars, the 160 stall holders at the NSPCC’s Country House Car Boot at Lodge Park in Sherborne on Sunday (September 23) stoically began piling antiques back into their estate cars.
For event sponsor Moore Allen & Innocent, though, the event had been far from a wash-out. “It was busy from the minute the gates opened until around 11 o’clock,” said auctioneer and valuer Philip Allwood. “And our marquee was very popular, especially once it started to rain!”
In fact there were 90 entries in the firm’s competition to win a bottle of champagne by guessing the value of 56 antique items due to be auctioned at the firm’s Selected Antiques Sale on Friday, September 28.
Philip’s guess was £55,555 – but the actual sum won’t be confirmed until the conclusion of the auction.
Among the last of the stallholders to pack up – two hours before the scheduled finish time – was Emma Boyne, from Bourton-on-the-Water.
Describing her self as a Country House Car Boot stalwart, Emma has attended each of the biannual events since they started 12 years ago. “It was blowing a gale at the first one,” she recalled, “but recently we’ve had good weather for them.
“Anyway I sold some things,” she said, “and people have gone away with some good bargains.”
She was keen for Philip to look at one of her unsold items, a brass letter opener in the form of an Lincoln imp. “I think it might be a bit rude,” she admitted.
Philip examined the piece through a magnifying glass. “No,” he concluded with an impish grin of his own. “He’s sitting cross-legged. That’s his leg dangling down.”
Anna Keir, NSPCC community fundraising manager said: “A huge thank you must go to the booters and visitors that turned up ahead of the downpour and Moore Allen & Innocent, who were on hand to value items.
“Despite the washout of the afternoon, we hope to have raised around £12,000. The money raised will support the ChildLine Schools Service. Volunteers from this service will be visiting every primary school across the UK over the next two years to educate children between the ages of nine and 11 about abuse, how to protect themselves, and how to seek help if they need it.”