Blitz spirit gives business a boost

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THE expansion of the war weekend into Whitby will provide businesses in the town with a much-needed tourism boost.

For 19 years it has been based around Pickering and the railway there but with its popularity and visitor numbers increasing each year the event had almost reached saturation point.

So, for the first time it is being expanded and will feature Whitby train station.

It is expected that 15,000 visitors will be in the area over the weekend and with trains full of passengers coming into Whitby, the cafes, restaurants, shops and businesses are set to benefit in what would normally be quiet time of year.

The majority of businesses in Skinner Street and others around the town will be embracing the blitz spirit by having 40s style window displays, serving dishes from the era or staff will be donning period costume.

They are: The Chocolate Box, Golden Lion Bank; Java, Mind and Sherlocks in Flowergate; Becketts, Bona-Tom, Sue Ryder, St Catherine’s Hospice, Collectables Past and Present, The Bazaar, E Botham and Sons Ltd, The Stonehouse Emporium, and Fishnets in Skinner Street; The Flowerpot and E Botham and Sons Ltd, Baxtergate; Whitby Network Shop, Station Square; Al’s Café, Wellington Road; Humble Pie, W Hamond, The Original Whitby Jet Shop, Whitby Jet Store, Araucaria Jet in Church Street; CW Sellors and Robert and Victoria, Sandgate; Whitby Gazette, Bridge Street; Whitby’s wartime lifeboat/Barry Snedden; Charlotte the Charabanc/Vernon Smith, Whitby Rifle Club and Discovery Accommodation, Whitby.

Skinner Street trader Julie Curry, who owns Beckett’s, said: “Skinner Street is Whitby’s best-kept secret, but we’re hoping the wartime weekenders will find their way to what was once the town’s premier shopping street, which is still stuffed full of independent traders today.

“They are assured of a warm wartime welcome.”

Janet Deacon, of Welcome to Yorkshire added: “With thousands of extra visitors expected to visit and stay in the town over the course of the two days, there is potentially a huge boost for Whitby’s economy.

“Welcome to Yorkshire is working extremely hard all year round to promote the town and support major events on the coast and I would encourage retailers, guest house owners and hoteliers who are not already Welcome to Yorkshire members to sign up and take advantage of the huge benefits that brings.”

Also taking part in the weekend is W Hamond jewellers who will have a stall at the market where customers can get hold of a ration book promo flyer to encourage them to visit the shop in Church Street.

l See today’s 12-page wartime weekend supplement for a round-up of this weekend’s activities and events.