WEYMOUTH homeware store Wilkinson has won a national award from the RNLI Royal National Lifeboat Institution for its fundraising efforts which have seen it raise more than £65,000.

Representatives from the store received the Corporate Supporter Award at an RNLI ceremony at the Barbican Theatre in London.

The staff team at Wilkinson in Weymouth set an initial target of £20,000 in January last year, but they exceeded this in the first four months, holding book and cake sales, children’s competitions and a dragon boat race to raise money for the Weymouth lifeboat station.

They also held an in-store “row-a-thon” where they aimed to row 300 miles – the distance between each of the 13 Wilkinson stores in the region – and actually rowed 489 miles, raising hundreds of pounds as a result.

Weymouth store manager Tim Williams said: “Our store chose the RNLI as they are very locally relevant – we often see the lifeboat launching to help those in trouble at sea, and the lifeguards on the beach in the summer months are a welcome sight for visitors to the town. When the weather’s bad, we’re tucked up in bed in the worst conditions and the crew have volunteered to go and save lives.

“That’s something we really admired. It’s made us extremely proud and privileged to raise both funds and awareness for a worthwhile charity.” Ros Whitlock, corporate partnerships manager for the RNLI, explained the money Wilkinson raised will have a huge impact for the RNLI across the whole South West.

She said: “The difference that Wilko has made is incredible. The money they have raised will help pay for the running costs of 13 lifeboat stations across the South West, and will also go towards funding the launching equipment for the Shannon, the RNLI’s newest class of lifeboat.”

“In many ways the employees of Wilko share qualities with our lifeboat crews – the ability to pull together, a passion for what they do and a sense of fun.

“I’m delighted that their enthusiasm and brilliance has been recognised.”

Video: RNLI.