Popular auctioneer George Reeve dies after battle with illness
- Credit: Ian Burt
An auctioneer who "always had a tale to tell" has died aged 76 following illness.
George William Reeve was born into a farming family in February 1945, near Woodbridge.
Mr Reeve, who ran Methwold Auction Mart near Thetford, passed away two weeks ago.
He was very proud of being brought up in a farming community and so loved his life and childhood in Suffolk that he actually wrote down his story about it, which he published last year.
He revealed an entrepreneurial nature from a young age, breeding rabbits to take to market when he was a little boy, and when he left school went to work in a local garage.
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However, he enrolled for Ipswich College and in his late teens secured a very good surveying position, which he worked at for many years, until he started a building firm with a friend, constructing more than 80 houses, mainly in Suffolk.
As a boy, Mr Reeve used to go to auctions with his father and the interest continued when he was an adult.
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When at Bury St Edmunds market one day the auctioneer failed to turn up so he offered his services - the very first time he had ever auctioned.
His widow Ann Reeve said he was a "natural auctioneer" and he was ‘hooked’ thus carried on auctioneering in Bury St Edmunds and other local auctions for many years.
He then started to auction at Methwold, near Thetford, and later purchased the business in the 1970s.
Mrs Reeve said: "George was a very good and amusing auctioneer and would hold all sorts of extra auctions including high class antique sales.
"George always had a tale to tell and, whilst auctioneering, he would tell tales to ‘his audience'."
She added: "My husband was a very popular man around the area."
Mr Reeve took semi-retirement in the late 1990s and Simon, his elder son, took over, but he always maintained his link with Methwold; coming back for Bank Holiday Auctions.
Mr Reeve and his first wife Rosemary had several years running a bed and breakfast in Yorkshire but due to health reasons decided to move down to Lincolnshire in the early 2000s. Sadly she died in 2006.
Mr Reeve then decided to move back more locally, buying a house in Suffolk and renovating it.
It was in 2008 he met Ann. Both loved caravanning and they spent some happy times both caravanning and travelling.
They married in 2013, but the same year Mr Reeve was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer, Myeloma.
He bravely fought the illness with chemotherapy and hospital trips and continued to holiday, not letting the Myeloma stop him enjoying life.
It was in September 2017 that Mesothelioma "hit him hard," Mrs Reeve said.
"Once again he bravely fought this terrible disease, with an operation and numerous trips backwards and forwards to hospitals including Papworth," she said.
Mr Reeve always enjoyed travelling since he was young and he spent many a holiday when the children were young camping, caravanning and travelling both at home and abroad.
His sense of adventure never left him was determined to travel to New Zealand.
Although on medication he enjoyed nearly a month in this New World country in 2019.
Slowly, however, the illness took over his life and in 2020, the same time as Covid-19 hit the world, his health declined, although he always continued to be cheerful, Mrs Reeve said.
She added: "His love of auctioneering stayed with him until the last few weeks of his life; and he wiled away hours by watching all the auction programmes on TV and enjoyed estimating the cost of items – he was usually correct!"
Mr Reeve, who lived in Caudle Springs, Carbrooke, in Norfolk, passed away on April 15 and his funeral will be held on May 14 at Great Ellingham Church, with Covid restrictions.
Methwold Auction Mart, now run by his stepson Steven Tyman, is still a thriving Monday auction, with auctions taking place each week. In 2018 the business celebrated 400 years since it was established.
Mr Reeve leaves a widow, three children, three stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren