Tag Archives: Matt Stevenson

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Auctioneer Matt Stevenson to retire from United Auctions

One of the top commercial sheep auctioneers in Scotland is to hang up his white coat and gavel after a career spanning 50 years during which he has been involved in the sale of more than 14million sheep.

United Auctions’ Sales Director Matt Stevenson will step down from the auctioneer’s box on Saturday 28 September at the sale of Blackface ewes and gimmers at Stirling Agricultural Centre where he has been based for almost 29 years.

Originally hailing from a farming family in North Ayrshire, Matt has made Stirling his home for the past 45 years.

Starting his career as a trainee auctioneer aged just 15 at Kilmarnock Mart selling young calves, cast cows and furniture, he will retire as a Board Director of Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers.

In 1990 Matt was headhunted by the late auctioneer Jimmy Weir to head up and expand the commercial sheep sales for United Auctions. In his half-century wielding the gavel, Matt has knocked it down on some of the most expensive sheep to go through the Stirling ring, fetching £20,000 for a Blackface shearling and £12,000 for a Blackface ewe hogg both from Ian Hunter, Dalchirla, and £5,500 for a Blue Leicester shearling.

Matt met many of his customers playing rugby for Stirling County RFC. He played on the wing and scored 175 tries in 11 years before retiring aged 31 and taking up refereeing for a further 17 years.

He said: “When I joined United Auctions, I stipulated that the weekends were my own because I was a rugby man. Farmers and rugby went hand in hand for years and I made a huge amount of contacts. I’ve still got a lot of those contacts today.”

At the weekend, United Auctions saw its biggest ever ewe lamb sale at Stirling Agricultural Centre with a record entry of more than 12,000. The sale has grown year on year with Matt at the helm and is recognised as a key date in the sheep farming calendar.

Matt continued: “A big percentage of top breeders bring their ewe lambs to Stirling Agricultural Centre to win the cup. That’s not by accident, we’ve worked hard to go out and get the business and we look after our customers once we have them.”

George Purves, Managing Director of United Auctions, said:“Matt has dedicated 50 energetic years to the industry, which speaks volumes about the measure of the man. One of farming’s big characters in and out of the rostrum, he’s been a close colleague for the last 18 years and hugely supportive as a fellow Director. Matt leaves a lasting legacy and a strong team who have gained experience and knowledge working with him for years. We wish him a long and happy retirement.”

On hanging up his gavel in September, Matt Stevenson said: “In some ways, it will be a sad day for me, but in other ways I’m delighted. I always wanted to be the number one commercial sheep auctioneer in Scotland and sell as much as I possibly could, and I’ve had a good innings. So, while I’m still fit and healthy, I want to do a bit of travelling and spend time with my grandchildren.”

A drinks reception to celebrate Matt’s career will take place on Saturday 28th September at Stirling Agricultural Centre. All friends, customers and colleagues are invited to the presentation at 4.30pm.



Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of United Auctions. For further information, please contact Jenny Kumar on 07989557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to editor

About United Auctions

United Auctions are Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists and operate a network of different auction markets across Scotland, including Stirling, Huntly, Lairg, Dalmally, Tiree, Islay, South Uist and Oban. The company conducts auctions of both commercial and pedigree livestock, including the world-famous Stirling Bull Sales, and provides farm-to-farm and farm-to-abattoir procurement services.



Top Seasonal Ewe Trade Despite Power Cut at Stirling Agricultural Centre

United Auctions’ staff overcame stormy adversity yesterday (Thursday, December 8th) to see the highest ewe trade this season with a top price of £156.50.

A wartime spirit reigned at Stirling Agricultural Centre as storm-force winds knocked out power lines around 3pm, plunging the market into darkness with more than 8,000 sheep to go through the ring and another five hours of selling ahead.

Aided by floodlights hired in preparation for the event, auctioneers George Purves, Richard Close and Ross Fotheringham battled on at the busier-than-usual weekly sale, speaking even louder to allow buyers to hear the bids over the noisy generator.

Meanwhile, a fast-thinking member of staff dashed to the local B&Q store for headlamps to enable yardsmen to continue drawing sheep for the sale.

Around 7pm, Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers brought in 60 fish suppers for staff and remaining buyers to help keep spirits high and fingers warm.

Matt Stevenson, Sales Manager /Auctioneer at UA said: “Despite adverse weather conditions the ewes were the dearest I’ve seen the whole year. While we were prepared for the possibility of the power cut, staff did exceptionally well thinking on their feet. Everyone knuckled down to the task while sellers and buyers were incredibly patient.

“Although the weather had an impact on the economy with many businesses closing early, we actually relied on the local traders to help us stay open and finish the sale strong.”

The sale ended around 8.30pm and a number of staff who were unable to make the trip home stayed the night at the local King Robert hotel.

Power was restored this morning (Friday, December 9th).


Issued by JK Consultancy Ltd on behalf of United Auctions. For further information please contact: Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 or jenny@jkconsultancy.com

United Auctions – www.uagroup.co.uk
• United Auctions (UA) are Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists. We operate a network of different auction markets across Scotland, including Stirling, Huntly, Lairg, Dalmally, Tiree, Islay, South Uist and an area office and lairage facility at Oban
• The company conducts auctions of both commercial and pedigree sheep and cattle, and provides farm-to-farm and farm-to-abattoir procurement services
• Group turnover is in excess of £100 million and in 2008 we celebrated our 150th year in operation