A hardworking fundraiser for the RNLI has stepped down after raising an amazing £120,000 for the organisation in less than six years.
Gilly Gutteridge was the souvenir secretary for the Hunstanton and District Lifeboat Guild.
“Other commitments have forced my retirement,” she said.
Lifeboat operations manager Robin Rafferty said her work has been extremely important to the service.
Her final day on the job was on Sunday and, unless a replacement is found, she could leave a big hole in the lifeboat’s finances. It is a job she will miss for the lifeboat service is in her blood. When young she lived in Walmer, Kent.
“When the flares went up we’d all run the local lifeboat station,” she said. “My father was very pro the RNLI.”
She moved to Norfolk some six years ago and it was not long before she became involved with the Hunstanton boat.
She said: “I was at an RNLI event where they appealed for someone to do the job.”
The station runs a souvenir shop alongside the lifeboat house and it did not take Gilly long to master the job.
“I’ve been in retail all my life, she said. “The shop is open one day a week on Sunday and during the summer we open as often as we can.”
In addition to running the shop she attended outside events such as the Sandringham Flower Show, Holkham Country Fair, Burnham Market Craft Fair and Drove Orchard Farm in Thornham. Most allowed the RNLI to pitch a fee-free stall and this helped to significantly swell the RNLI coffers.
In addition she has built up a list of eight local outlets where RNLI Christmas cards are sold.
“I’m so grateful to everyone for their generous help,” she said.
“The lifeboat’s operations manager, Robin Rafferty, was fulsome in his praise for the work she has done.
“Gilly has been instrumental in running the shop virtually single handed.
“Her work has been so important. It has helped fund the RNLI whilst the shop also brings people to see the lifeboat which helps to underline the importance of the service.”
“We are so indebted to her for the enormous sum of money she has raised for us.”
Anyone interested ini taking on Gilly’s workload should telephone Guild chairman, Terry Morris, on 01485 512005.