Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.

If any of our readers have been to GB Antique’s Centre and looked up you’ll notice a life sized fibre glass bull on our roof.

That was put up there exactly 11 years ago this month.

On Bank Holiday Monday in 2003 a bull escaped from the neighbouring auction mart and got into the centre through a loading bay went on a rampage.

I have heard all the jokes about a “bull in a china shop” over the years but at the time it was no laughing matter.

The young bull injured a customer and destroyed thousands of pounds worth of goods.

It was terrifying.

There was china literally being smashed into pieces as it ran around and we tried to keep our customers safe.

The injured lady was taken to hospital with a bruised shoulder, ribs and bottom, though she was later discharged after treatment.

Meanwhile, we managed to lock the bull in a store room and discussions with the police about the public’s safety led to the animal being shot dead by a police marksman, which was sad to witness.

The whole episode had lasted three hours.

Luckily, we had only just opened when it happened, so there was probably only about two dozen people in there at the time.

If it had happened later in the day we would probably have had over 500 people in the centre and the situation could have been very very different.

As international media began to pick up the story, my security camera footage was screened across the world.

I appeared on BBC News 24, CNN and Sky News.

I was even interviewed on South American, Canadian and European radio and television stations.

The story went global.

It was a journalists dream – a bull in a china shop was bound to make headline news.

The decision was taken to immortalise the bull on the roof as a reminder of the incident that took my centre into the international spotlight and it’s still a talking point with visitors now.

There’s not many mornings that I don’t look up and see the bull and remember the bank holiday of 2003.