Shop co-founder’s ‘overwhelming generosity’

Christine Cawkwell with the Mayor of Market Weighton Peter Hemmerman during her retirement party.
Christine Cawkwell with the Mayor of Market Weighton Peter Hemmerman during her retirement party.

More than £50,000 has been donated to local projects after the closure of a popular community shop, and celebrations have taken place to recognise the outstanding work of its co-founder.

Christine Cawkwell, 71, who founded Market Weighton Community Shop with her partner Peter Neale and helped run the enterprise for the last 16 years, has now retired.

The shop, on Market Place, closed recently but has been replaced by the ‘New Community Shop’, which opened last Saturday. Market Weighton Community Shop has raised just over £231,000 for projects in Market Weighton since it opened in 1999.

To mark Mrs Cawkwell’s retirement, a party and awards evening was held at Market Weighton Community Hall. Money that was left in the bank when the shop closed was shared out among local groups at the awards evening.

The shop was run by Mrs Cawkwell, who was a trustee, as well as two other trustees - Peter Neale and Marion Speakman - and a team of volunteers.

Mrs Cawkwell says she has thoroughly enjoyed her time working at the shop. “It has been fantastic. I’ve had some wonderful days,” she said.

“The colleagues who I worked with, I’m going to miss all of them. The commitment, reliability and integrity of all of them has been amazing. Without them and the consistent donations the shop would never have been so successful.”

Among the groups to receive a share of the £53,000 given out at the awards evening were Market Weighton Town Team, which received £5,000, Market Weighton Town Council was presented with £5,000, Market Weighton scouts and guides were given £3,000 and Market Weighton Boys’ Brigade also received £3,000. All churches and schools in Market Weighton received £2,000.

Mrs Cawkwell, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-eight, says the idea to open the first Market Weighton Community Shop came after the closure of an Age Concern charity shop in 1999.

She said: “All the ladies that worked for Age Concern didn’t want to lose their jobs. We thought we could find a premises to open a social enterprise. We opened the first community shop in the old chapel on York Road.”

Mayor of Market Weighton, councillor Peter Hemmerman, said: “She has been a real stalwart for the town. She has always been very approachable to organisations. If they have ever needed money for something and asked if there is a chance for a donation the shop has always done it.

Speaking about the money handed out during the awards evening, he added: “We were all amazed by the overwhelming generosity.”

Market Weighton Community Shop was founded as a social enterprise with all profits going to local projects in the town once expenses had been paid. Like a charity shop, it sold goods that were donated to it.