Auctioneer Roy retires from the sales ring after more than six decades

A well-known livestock auctioneer, with a career spanning more than six decades, has retired from the industry.

By Joanne Knox
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 7:27 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 9:11 am

Roy Gibson began working at RJ Allams in August 1954 when he was just 14 years of age.

His first position was as a junior office boy, running errands, making tea and completing any other small tasks asked of him.

Roy recalled: “In those day, Allams was a very busy livestock market, with sales five days a week. After a year I was allowed to supervise the reception of livestock, lot numbering, and got to record the names and addresses of the owners.

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Roy with Selina Gilham, UFM Secretary, who in May this year was celebrating 50 years with the company

“Not long after, I was given the job of clerk during the auctions.”

This is where Roy learned his trade, observing some of the finest auctioneers in the business. “Finally, aged 19, after some of the top auctioneers had left to run other marts, I got the chance to sell my first livestock in the ring,” he continued.

“It was thrilling to be in charge of the ring and sell dropped calves.”

From that moment on, Roy began to sell all sorts of livestock in the old Oxford St Mart.

Roy and his wife Janet with UFM staff

In 1972, Allams was purchased by the Johnston brothers, who also owned Ulster Farmers Mart in Enniskillen.

Roy added: “I began to travel to Enniskillen every week to sell at their Thursday cattle sales.

“I enjoyed every moment of my time at Allams and Enniskillen.

“Sadly, the Oxford St mart closed in 1992.

Roy receiving an auctioneers gavel from Stuart Johnston, Director UFM

“We moved to the market town of Crumlin, and then Massereene.”

One of the outstanding moments for Roy, was not the highest price paid for an animal he had sold, but the time when two buyers fell out over the purchase of a cow!

“One man pulled out his cattle marking scissors and cut the other man’s tie off just below the knot - it was priceless!” Roy revealed.

“If my career has a highlight, it was that for 24 years I sold the champions at Allams Christmas sale of fatstock at Balmoral.”

Stuart Johnston, Clive Funston, Roy Gibson and Terry Johnston

Roy finally retired from the sales ring in December, due to ill health, following 67 years in the industry.

He joined with his former colleagues from Ulster Farmers Mart for a very special retirement lunch at Corick House Hotel recently.

Roy with Vinny McGirr, who clerked to him at the in Enniskillen sales