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The association will be loose, especially this year, but there might be a more formal structure for 2007.

However, Freya Simms, show director at Clarion, emphasises this will not be a LAPADA event and is not limited to members of the largest dealers’ association. But in the past three years the vast majority of exhibitors have been LAPADA members.

Miss Simms feels the link underlines the January fair’s stylish identity and will distinguish it from the larger Antiques For Everyone fairs in Birmingham.

For LAPADA this means an involvement with a venue that the association found beneficial for 13 years. It was when LAPADA ceased having a dedicated fair at the NEC that the latter decided to launch their own upmarket January fixture.

LAPADA enjoy a strong Midlands base, and Clarion feel the new energy and proactive nature of the association, evident since the appointment of Sarah Percy Davies as chief executive last year, can only enhance the National Fair.

Mrs Percy Davies assured ATG the new arrangement will not affect the future of LAPADA’s own provincial fair at Cheltenham in October.