£5 million milestone achieved by Whitby RNLI shop

Whitby RNLI crew and shop volunteers celebrate with customer Stephen Bakewell. L-R: Richard Dowson, Ian Marshall, Howard Fields, Stephen Bakewell, Pete Thomson, Aden Welford and Val Rowe. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes
Whitby RNLI crew and shop volunteers celebrate with customer Stephen Bakewell. L-R: Richard Dowson, Ian Marshall, Howard Fields, Stephen Bakewell, Pete Thomson, Aden Welford and Val Rowe. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Whitby RNLI charity shop and museum celebrated reaching a milestone of £5 million.

The lucky customer who helped the shop make a staggering total yesterday (Tuesday) was Stephen Bakewell from Leeds.

Val Rowe takes the sale from Stephen Bakewell which helped the Whitby RNLI shop raise 5 million, with Pete Thomson. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Val Rowe takes the sale from Stephen Bakewell which helped the Whitby RNLI shop raise 5 million, with Pete Thomson. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Stephen who was purchasing £10.75 worth of souvenirs had no idea of the significance of the sale until after it was rung through the till.

It was then that curator Pete Thomson greeted him with the news and a glass of bubbly to celebrate. The RNLI also gifted Stephen a teddy bear from the shop to say thank you.

Stephen said that he was thrilled with the news and told Pete that he regularly supports the RNLI.

The achievement also marks the start of Honorary Curator Pete Thomson's retirement.

Honorary Curator Pete Thompson. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Honorary Curator Pete Thompson. Credit: RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Former crewman, Pete Thomson who has been honorary curator at the Whitby shop and museum for over 60 years said how proud he was of the achievement.

He said: "I have watched the shop grow over the years from taking £500 a year to now taking £1 million annually. The support we get from the public is phenomenal.

"I have loved every second of being involved with it, and can't thank all the hard working volunteers enough for the hours of time they give to help make it all possible."

Pete won't be saying goodbye to the role completely as he plans to handover to the new curator, ex-crewman and Deputy Launch Authority, Neil Williamson and still wants to take an active role in supporting Neil.

Pete first became involved with the RNLI whilst on leave from the Army in 1958 when he began helping his father convert the old rowing lifeboat house into a museum.

This sparked his interest in the RNLI in Whitby, and he began making models for the displays.

In 1966, the first inshore lifeboat came to Whitby, and Pete joined the crew. Whilst serving on the all-weather lifeboat as Mechanic and eventually Coxswain, in 1985 he was asked by the director of the institution to take over from his father as Honorary Curator.