15/11/07 - Obituary
David Dickinson, the livestock auctioneer whose gavel fell on
leading priced pedigree beef and sheep in the UK, died on Friday
9th November 2007, aged 52.
Tributes have been made by friends and colleagues across the country’s
agricultural community to David, who was found at his home in Denton
Holme, Carlisle on Friday morning.
He was known to the agricultural community across the UK through
his work as an auctioneer and his expert knowledge of pedigree
livestock and he had been selling cattle within a few days of his
He began working for Harrison & Hetherington in July 1972
as an office boy and he was one of the few still working for the
company who were involved when it ran its old mart in Botchergate
in the city centre before moving to Borderway in 1974.
Working through the ranks and qualifying as an auctioneer after
several years’ service, he began to specialise in selling
pedigree beef cattle and sheep as well as motor vehicles.
He was the company’s auctioneer for Aberdeen Angus, British
Blue and Charolais cattle as well as Texel and Beltex sheep, developing
an in-depth knowledge of the breeds and being held in very high
regard by all those involved in the industry.
David sold many leading priced animals at Borderway, including
the Texel ram lamb which made 110,000gns in 2006 as well as record-priced
He was one of the founding members and the first secretary of
the Solway and Tyne Texel Breeders’ Club 25 years ago and
he was the club’s chairman when he died.
A breeder of Angus and Texels when his father Robert ran the Smiths
Arms at Marketgate, Ivegill, Carlisle, he also judged at many shows
and events across the country.
Probably his most memorable time was when he had tea with the
Queen Mother at Castle of Mey in the north of Scotland where she
kept a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle. David would auction her cattle
at sales and she asked him if he would give her his opinion of
“David was tremendously loyal, a gifted stocksman as well
as an excellent auctioneer,” said auctioneer David Thomlinson
who had worked alongside David throughout his career and who was
also a good friend.
“His abilities were very much respected by everyone. He
could communicate with people from all walks of life.
“His work was his life. He was a very private person.”
H&H Group chief executive Trevor Hebdon said: “David
will be a huge loss to our farmstock business; his true professionalism
and deep understanding of pedigree livestock will be sorely missed
by his colleagues and the very many clients for whom he has acted
over the years.”
Aberdeen Angus Society chief executive Ron McHattie said: “David
bred Aberdeen Angus cattle and, with no disrespect to any other
auctioneer, he was the one who knew the pedigrees and he was such
an enthusiast for the breed.
“He was always extremely helpful and people respected him
for his knowledge of the breed. There was many a herd started in
the north of England and south west Scotland as a result of David’s
The Solway and Tyne’s current president and original secretary
of the Texel society, Sandy Grant, of Lochmaben, well remembers
David’s input into the club as its first secretary. Sandy
Grant was its original chairman.
“I remember our first meeting in the H&H boardroom where
we discussed the potential of having a sale which subsequently
developed into a two day event at the beginning of September at
Borderway. He was a great asset to the club and that he was made
a vice-president was some estimation of his contribution to it.
“A combination of his tremendous knowledge and expertise
in organising events such as the club’s 25th anniversary
ceremony was very much appreciated by us all.”
Steven Mclean, chief executive of the Texel society, said: “Apart
from David being one of the breed’s leading auctioneers he
was a very important individual in the Texel world.
“He was known the length and breadth of the country. As
chairman of one of our 19 clubs reflects the honour and that he
was held in the highest esteem, particularly as the Solway and
Tyne club is very strong.”
David was the official British Blue auctioneer at Borderway for
nearly two decades and was very dedicated to the breed, selling
a number of the breed record priced animals at Borderway and gained
a number of dispersal and reduction sales at Carlisle because of
his experience and knowledge of the breed.
Border club president Brian Wheatley, of Penrith, said: “David
was well respected within the breed and by members of the Border
Club, where he was often called upon for advice.
“We are glad he was still with us only last week to sell
at our annual autumn show and sale. David will be dearly missed
by us all and it will be hard to find a pedigree auctioneer as
committed and well respected as David who was an exceptional character
and we were privileged to have known and worked closely with him
promoting the British Blue breed in the Border area.”
David was also secretary of the Cumbria Association of Livestock
He is survived by brother Alan, of Wreay, Alan’s wife Ann,
nephew Duane and his wife Kim and their children Shannan and Kieren,
and nephew Aaron and his partner Emma and their children, Caitlin
The funeral was held on Thursday November 22 at Christ Church,
Ivegill, followed by interment.
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