Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Bill Pepper, partner and head of the machinery department at Cheffins, has left the firm after more than 30 years. Initially located in the... Machinery auctioneer will be ‘sorely missed’ after 30 years

Bill Pepper, partner and head of the machinery department at Cheffins, has left the firm after more than 30 years.

Initially located in the centre of Cambridge, the Cheffins Monthly Machinery Sale has expanded from the sale of a few tractors and machines in the 1940s to the largest auction of its type worldwide, at Sutton, near Ely.

Some 3,000 lots are sold each month, with sales grossing more than £7.5m in the first quarter of 2021. With over 30,000 registered buyers worldwide, Cheffins has regular sales to Spain, Ireland, Germany, the Middle East, eastern Europe and north Africa.

Mr Pepper said he was leaving the firm to pursue other projects – including commercial and recreational opportunities on his family’s farm near Royston – and get involved in residential development ventures.

“I have had the most fantastic career at Cheffins. However, after being at the firm for my entire working life, I have decided that now is the time for a new challenge.

“While it will be incredibly hard to leave Cheffins and my team, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my family, work on other projects and hopefully travel the world once restrictions allow.”.

Drive-through auction

Mr Pepper’s first year at Cheffins was 1987. He then attended the Royal Agricultural College before returning the firm full-time as a trainee chartered surveyor in 1990 before joining the machinery team five years later.

Talking about the development of the Cambridge Machinery Sales, Mr Pepper said: “When I first started all those years ago, the only way to sell machinery was through a weekly publication or via the Cheffins sale ground.”

In recent years, Mr Pepper has overseen the construction of the auction’s drive-through sales building – which was completed in 2016 – and the development of online-only sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

Work colleagues said Mr Pepper would be sorely missed by everyone at Cheffins. The monthly machinery sale will now be overseen by Cheffins chairman Bill King and director Oliver Godfrey.

Mr King said: “It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Bill, who has played a crucial role in the development of the Cheffins Machinery Sale, developing it to where it is today.”

With a strong team in place, Mr King said he was confident that the monthly machinery sale would be in good hands following Mr Pepper’s departure – and would continue to provide an essential service for the second-hand machinery market.