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Ben Atkinson
animals facts
Image by tj.blackwell
This photograph (taken on a snowy winter day in late 2010) depicts a renowned local auctioneer keeping a firm hand on proceedings; overseeing the final sales of the day's livestock trade in Otley. Sadly Ben passed away on August 1st, 2011 and leaves behind a doting family in addition to countless hundreds of friends and associates in the farming world. My mother felt compelled to pen a brief poem for him in his last weeks and I thought it would be appropriate to post this tribute to a much loved Otley mainstay:

"Ben Atkinson's an auctioneer
The finest in the land.
There's very little which gets sold
That is not by his hand.

He sells the pigs, he sells the cows
He sells the ducks and hens.
And tractors. Jars of rusting nails.
A million sheep in pens.

A linchpin for the farming world
His name is known to many;
A fact made legend in these parts
In print and on the telly.

Besides this knack for selling,
The greatest gift with Ben
Is how he makes a person feel,
His awesome gift with men.

Five minutes in his company
Are worth their weight in gold.
They make you feel valued
And enriched by stories told.

Fear not, Ben never, ever does
Or would, forget a name
No matter how big or small your part
In agriculture’s game.

He is charming and he's clever
Sometimes forthright, but he's kind.
It can be hard to scratch the surface,
Of such profound depths are his mind.

As an after dinner speaker
He draws crowds from far afield
And many causes benefit
From the cash which they will yield.

And that's why all folk love him.
Every heart holds a unique place,
For this truly noble champion.
'Best in show' of Yorkshire's race."

- Tracey Blackwell

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