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A major provincial fixture, it is held four times a year at the popular National Trust venue in Cheshire.

Mr Bailey has been running the fair since the mid 1980s and considered it not only his most successful fixture by some measure, but also his flagship event.

The first Tatton Park fair under the Cooper banner will be from March 5 to 7. Meanwhile Mr Bailey will run the first Tatton of the year from January 8 to 10 when the change of management will be formally announced to exhibitors.

Sue Ede told ATG: “I am delighted to acquire the Tatton Park fair which will complement perfectly our programme of events in well-known high-status venues.”

The new owner is already contemplating changes, among them re-establishing the title The Tatton Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair. Mr Bailey has had various titles in recent years, from The Cheshire Antiques Fair to The Tatton Luxury Living Fair.

This changing of titles is known to have annoyed exhibitors and is among the reasons why the change of ownership is supported.

Cooper Fairs have been interested in buying Tatton Park for some time, but Mr Bailey did not wish to sell. But clearly the agreement on a “substantial five-figure sum” eventually persuaded him otherwise.

“After a great deal of deliberation I have chosen to release Tatton Park from our stable of events,” he said. “I feel that in Cooper Fairs we are passing the baton into the hands of a well-respected and highly experienced organiser.”

On his future, Mr Bailey added: “I now feel free to concentrate on our other events around the country, particularly our Harrogate fairs, where I feel there is still a great deal of potential. I am also considering relaunching The Northern Antiques Fair.”

Last year Cooper fairs bought The Buxton Antiques Fair and this new Cheshire event gives Sue Ede a stable of six venues.

By David Moss