A vast silverware collection is expected to go for more than £100,000 when it goes up for auction next month.

It was owned by the late Sir Ray Tindle, founder of Tindle Newspapers which owned this - and many other - newspapers across Wales and England,

The collection contains many sought after pieces from the 18th century, George 111 and later silversmiths, and reflects Sir Ray’s dedication to his beloved 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment

A newspaper man through and through, Sir Ray acquired his first newspaper, the Tooting & Balham Gazette, with his £300 demob payment after serving with the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment in the Far East between 1944 and 1947, rising to the rank of captain.

Extremely proud of his association with the now-disbanded regiment, he greatly mourned its passing, going so far as to name his home in Farnham ‘Devonshire House’ in its honour.

The Tooting and Balham paper was the first of many launches and acquisitions over the years that created the widespread and highly influential Tindle Newspapers Ltd, a byword in local news and community reporting, that became the fourth largest UK local newspaper group by number of titles published.

It now owns local papers and radio stations covering large parts of Surrey, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Many of these papers are very long established, including the Monmouthshire Beacon founded in 1837.

Others were launched in Queen Victoria’s reign, such as the Farnham Herald (1892), Cambrian News (1860), Cornish & Devon Post (1856), Mid-Devon Advertiser (1863) and the Tenby Observer (1853).

Sir Ray made the Surrey town his home in the 1960s and made such an impact in the following 50 years that he was known by locals as ‘Mr Farnham’. If a charity or organisation needed help, Sir Ray was there. He eventually stepped down as chairman of Tindle Newspapers when he was 90, remaining as president, with son Owen, who runs the Oxon Hoath Retreat and Conference Centre in Kent, taking over as chairman.

Sir Ray retired as chairman of the Surrey Advertiser in 1977 after 35 years. He was also a director for 18 years on the main board of The Guardian & Manchester Evening News, and chairman for ten years of the Belfast News Letter, the UK’s oldest provincial daily. He was a founder shareholder and, for many years, an alternate director, of Capital Radio.

He became Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in 1985 after some 20 years of service on several committees and of the Court.

Over the years he also donated sizeable sums to various worthy causes and projects, particularly in and around his hometown of Farnham.

In 1973 Sir Ray was appointed OBE for services to the newspaper industry and in 1987 he was appointed CBE. In 1989 he became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Surrey. He was knighted in 1994 and was made the Newspaper Personality of the Year at the 2005 Newspaper Awards, in the same year becoming an honorary vice-president of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain.

Chris Ewbank, chairman of Ewbanks Auctioneers in Surrey who are handling the sale said:“Sir Ray had a fine eye for quality that matched his head for business and passion for the newspaper industry, especially as it served local communities. I have rarely seen so many early silver spoons together. Many are from the 18th century, but some are even earlier.”

Sir Ray’s son Owen Tindle said of his father’s love of collecting silverware: “My father was an avid collector of antique silverware. Initially as a hobby, a distraction from the stresses and strains of running his huge newspaper empire, the hobby soon developed into a passion for seeking out rare pieces, quickly learning to recognise hallmarks and identify the craftsmen.

“Over some 35 years he would visit every antique shop that he could whilst travelling around the UK visiting his newspaper offices. Several of the pieces in his collection were gifts from the local newspaper staff around the country. Whenever he was on a business trip, he would make a point of making a detour to the local antique shop to see what pieces they might have to augment his collection. When he was at his holiday home in Brighton, he was very often the first visitor to the 8am Saturday morning market, keen to bargain the unwary stallholders down on the price of a set of spoons or a pretty ladle.”

The auction is due to take place on December 8. Anyone interested can view the auction lots online now at www.ewbankauctions.co.uk where you can also place advanced bids.