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In a letter announcing the decision, taken at a meeting on October 22, committee member John Ebdon said: "We all know these are challenging times for anyone involved in this business.

"Many dealerships are changing and shrinking, auction houses have gone 'live' and there is a squeeze on the luxury end of the retail market (to name but a few).

"This is significant for us within the Thames Valley area as in recent years many of the larger, founder members of TVADA are either no longer trading or are doing so in a different way and other regional associations have also disappeared in recent years.

"The consequence of all these changes has been a shrinking of TVADA membership and so after much consultation with our members and discussions on the future of TVADA amongst the committee, it has been decided to cease running the association."

Mr Ebdon added that the committee would like to thank LAPADA for their support, as well as members past and present, clients and members of the trade.

Founder Members

TVADA was formed in 1989 by Willie Clegg of The Country Seat, Graham Wells of Summers Davis, Alisdair Brown, Edward Reily Collins of Hallidays and Josie Smith.

Over the years the association has held fairs at various venues including The Swan at Tetsworth, the antiques centre in Oxfordshire run by active TVADA member Rita Woodman for 20 years. After her retirement, the Swan has now been bought by Tom Keane of Chiswick Auctions and his business partner James Wang, a Chinese entrepreneur.

The UK lost another of its longstanding trade associations in 2007 with the disbanding of the Bath and Bradford on Avon Antique Dealers' Association. However, its members quickly regrouped to form the West of England Antique Dealers' Association with its membership drawn from Tetbury in the north of the region down to Cornwall and across to Salisbury.