A new head of antiques, fine art and country sports for Mitchells Auction Company has been appointed to run their saleroom in Cockermouth.

James Moore will begin his tenure, replacing former head Mark Wise who led the company for over 30 years.

Mr Moore said: "I’m delighted to have this opportunity and am already proactively seeking more entries of antiques, fine art, sporting goods and toys for our specialist sales."

He previously served as the saleroom manager and expanded the biannual Country Sporting Sales.

Commenting on the new appointment, Mr Wise said: "He already knows the business inside out, which will make for a smooth transition, and he has expertise in both antiques and fine art, particularly the work of local artists.

"He’s also impressed us by growing the biannual Country Sporting Sales into major three day sales. The board has every confidence that James and the new Saleroom Manager, James Warwick, will continue to build a thriving business into the future.”

Times and Star: Former head Mark Wise led the company for over 30 years

Mr Wise will continue as a non-executive director on the company's board and remain in a consultant capacity.

Emphasising community outreach, Mr Moore said there are plans to increase ease of access to the company's services by offering free valuations at the Cockermouth saleroom and launching free 'Pop-Up Valuation Events'.

He said: "We’re holding free 'Pop-Up Valuation Events' all over the county, starting with one at Shipping Brow Gallery in Maryport this Saturday 10th February 11 till 2.

"People can simply drop by with their items for a free, no obligation valuation and we’re particularly keen to see artworks by local artists such as Percy Kelly, Sheila Fell or William Mitchell.

"I’ll be there with my colleague Claire Machin who’s also looking out for items for our maritime and transport sale.”

The company's previous charity valuations yielded significant items including a Victorian Indian silver horse racing trophy which sold for £4,000 in their Antiques and Fine Art Sale last September.

Another event to support Coniston TIC saw items including a collection of 1966 World Cup memorabilia, with tickets for the final at Wembley, and a rare Victorian/Edwardian footman’s outfit from Grizedale Hall near Hawkshead being brought in for valuation.

People can drop by the pop up event with their items, or a photo if it’s too big to carry, for a free valuation.