AN AUCTIONEER and valuer who has been part of the farming community in Ashbourne since the 1940s has died at the age of 94.
Philip Binder died on Wednesday at the Royal Derby Hospital shortly after suffering an aortic aneurysm.
Friends and family have paid tribute to a hard-working man, who had immersed himself in the life of the town.
Born on August 14, 1919, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Mr Binder was the middle child and only son of Henry and Lilian Binder.
Both sides of his family had been farmers since his great-grandfather moved there from Northamptonshire, renting land from the Duke of Norfolk.
Much to his father's dismay, Mr Binder decided against the farming life and instead wanted to become either a vet or an auctioneer.
In 1949, he moved from Sheffield with his wife, Winifred, and his two children, Peter and Prudence, to work for Bagshaws, an agricultural property firm still based in the same Church Street office.
His first role was selling pigs at Bakewell Market, with a salary of £5 a week.
He had been hired by Sidney Bagshaw, part of the original family who founded the firm in 1871 and, even once he had retired, he remained a familiar face, calling in each day to keep up with news and talk to staff.
Despite his advancing years, Mr Binder, who continued to live independently at his home in Ellastone, drove to Ashbourne each morning, where he would spend a few hours at the Church Street branch keeping up with news.
Nick Hansen, who took up a partnership at Bagshaws around the time Mr Binder retired, paid tribute to him.
He said: "He was very much a fount of information and knowledge on agricultural matters and I think his knowledge on that, and about the countryside, was phenomenal – that was what he was known for.
"He's always kept an interest in Bagshaws and I think it's been rather nice that we've been able to extend the relationship with him over the years, because he would always come in and have a coffee.
"His mind and his body were always as sharp as ever.
"He's certainly going to be missed by all of us at Bagshaws."
Mr Binder was also known to the area as a true supporter of Ashbourne Show. A former president, he took on the role of looking after the cups and trophies, which he always ensured were in perfect order.
His contribution to Ashbourne, both professionally and voluntarily, earned him the honour of turning up a Shrovetide ball on Ash Wednesday in 1989.
His former assistant at Bagshaws, Alastair Sneddon, who is now a senior partner at the firm, said Mr Binder was a great man to work with and learn from.
He told the News Telegraph: "In his professional life, he was very thorough and had a great sense of fair play, seeing people treated properly.
"He acted for quite a lot of farmers in tenanted farms who were extremely grateful for his services.
"He had a very comprehensive knowledge of matters and was very much regarded
"I learned a huge amount from him and he was a wonderful man to work with.
"I'd love to hope that some of his knowledge will have rubbed off on me, although it will only be a small fraction because he knew such a huge amount."
Mr Binder's funeral is due to take place on Friday, April 25, at St Peter's Church in Ellastone at 12.30pm and he is due to be buried in the church yard.