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Kent boot fairs feeling the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown says Hobbs Parker's Ray Scott

'One man's junk is another man's treasure' has long been the mantra of boot fair buyers and sellers across the county.

It wasn't so long ago that a weekend for many wasn't complete unless they were rummaging for that elusive bargain or hoping to make a few quid by flogging their unwanted bits and bobs.

The weekly events at Ashford's Orbital Park have been packing in punters for years
The weekly events at Ashford's Orbital Park have been packing in punters for years

But with social distancing and a ban on mass gatherings likely to be a way of life for the foreseeable future, the boot fair is unlikely to be making a reappearance any time soon.

Ray Scott runs the weekly boots at Hobbs Parker on Ashford's Orbital Park.

He believes boot fairs may not even return until 2021.

"I would love to think it was July but I can't see it," he admits.

"I think late autumn at the earliest and it could even be next year. We're an all-year boot fair, so we could get the nod in the winter, but it's not looking very good is it?

Boot fairs in the county face an uncertain future
Boot fairs in the county face an uncertain future

"I don't how you could exercise social distancing. The only thoughts I've had are less boots and spread them out. But it's the people coming to buy which would be so difficult to control. It's an impossible task.

"And it's costing us a lot of money through the loss of income of not being able to hold the Saturday and Sunday markets."

Others, however, are anxious the cancellation of all boot fairs for so long will only fuel the increasing rise in the numbers migrating from the weekend events and onto the internet to buy and sell.

"I don't how you could exercise social distancing"
"I don't how you could exercise social distancing"

One of the organisers of a number of popular events in the county, who didn't want to be named, admitted boot fairs have seen a decline in recent years as more and more turn online to flog their items, and admitted it put a question mark over the viability of the events he has staged over the years.

Ironically, the boot fair ban comes as those of us in lockdown spring clean our homes - unearthing an Aladdin's cave of items ideal for the popular markets.

Adds Ray Scott: "That's the thing isn't it - you can imagine how much people will have to sell when we can hold them again."

One man's junk is another man's treasure
One man's junk is another man's treasure

Second hand goods to sell? Here's the top sites for flogging your stuff...

CeX: If you're looking for a hassle-free way to free up some shelf space and make a quick few quid by off-loading your old DVDs, Blu-rays or tech, then CeX offers an app to scan in your items and get an instant trade-in price. Generally you'll get more than the likes of MusicMagpie... but just remember they make their profit by flogging your stuff on so don't expect to make a fortune.


eBay: It needs no introduction, but the auction site remains the first stop for many looking to sell their items. You can list items for free, but you'll pay 10% of the final price - plus you can pay extra for various adds on. However, it's simple, trusted, and you're selling your wares to a potential audience of millions. Just don't forget you need to factor postage in.


Facebook Marketplace: The social networking giant has long been a useful place to advertise your unwanted gear on local groups and its Marketplace section allows you to buy and sell from folk in your area. Plus listings are free and tagged for your local area which means all the money you make goes directly into your pocket. Just be aware FB doesn't get involved in the financial side - so it won't intervene if there's any dispute.


Gumtree: Owned by eBay, the listings site is free to put your item online - but you can pay to boost your ad. It's a better bet for you if you're trying to sell big bulky items as you can arrange for local buyers to collect direct, cutting out the aggro of posting the things.


Shpock: The mobile marketplace with the odd name allows for free listings (again, you can pay to enhance your chance of selling) and you can choose only to buy from local sellers. Popular but still playing catch-up with the likes of Gumtree and eBay - but a polished app.


Vintage Cash Cow: From sunglasses to old toys, medals to silver and jewellery to cameras, Vintage Cash Cow offers to value your items, quote you on a price, and then either pay or return them to you. There's even free home collection. It's becoming increasingly popular and ideal for those with items potentially worth a few quid to shift.


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