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Town councillor opens new antiques centre

PUBLISHED: 08:02 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:33 07 July 2010

He is a well-known colourful councillor with a flair for hair, but Michael Fanthorpe is returning to his roots by opening a new antiques centre in Dereham.

He is a well-known colourful councillor with a flair for hair, but Michael Fanthorpe is returning to his roots by opening a new antiques centre in Dereham.

Six professional dealers have taken on individual units within the former medieval barn off Norwich Street and will be selling everything from jewellery to toys, clothes to artwork.

The ancient building has been in the Fanthorpe family for several years along with some of the neighbouring properties.

One, now a beauty salon, has been owned by the Fanthorpes for over a century and a painted sign still remains on the side citing Cuthbert Court, 1898 H C Fanthorpe.

While Mr Fanthorpe has been an established hairdresser in Fakenham for many years he said antiques were “the love of his life” and he was excited at the prospect of becoming more involved with them again.

“I love everything and I buy everything,” he said. “We had an antique shop on the front of Norwich Street in the 60s, 70s and 80s so I feel this is going back to my roots. I will still be doing the hairdressing so it is up to the dealers to decide how to run their own businesses. They have some fascinating pieces, and each specialises in a different area.”

The centre will predominantly be open on Fridays and Saturdays, with the first day's trading tomorrow, but then each trader will assess demand and open to suit themselves. They will also offer free valuations and would be interested to meet people with antiques to sell.

Trader Sue Harris said: “I am really looking forward to it and I think it will take off nicely.”

Mr Fanthorpe said he was pleased to get some more independent traders back to the town.

“People are fed up with the same shops in all the towns and we have lost so many privately owned shops,” he said.

“It is about time Dereham people did business in their own town.”

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