Different days: Jackie Raleigh to retire.

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Now approaching 80, Jackie has finally decided to retire. She organised her first fair in Newbury in 1972 and later that same year launched her famous monthly Sunday fairs at the Abbey Hall, Abingdon. After 32 years the Abingdon fixture is still going strong and that is what Fat Cat, who hold fairs at Lechlade-on-Thames and Burford, have acquired.

The first Abingdon fair under the Briggs' ownership was last Sunday (August 15) and they have confirmed fairs on the third Sunday of the month for the rest of this year and for 2005. Wisely, they have retained both the venerable name Silhouette and its distinctive logo.

Not surprisingly, Jackie Raleigh has seen many changes in her more than three decades of organising. She reminded me that in 1972 she was one of the founder members, with Patricia Harvey and Elizabeth Bowman among others, of the Antique Fairs Organisers Association, a short-lived association of high ideals which Jackie says, with regret, "never really caught on".

And is less likely to nowadays, I would venture.

And the major change? "There is a different type of exhibitor now" said Jackie. "At one time they would take anything in their stride. I remember when the roof leaked at Abingdon and we all took the stock and set up in the little rooms upstairs. Exhibitors would not do that now."