Whitby had doubly good reason to celebrate by landing a couple of prestigious accolades at the Fishing News awards.
The Magpie Cafe won the UK and Ireland’s coastal fish restaurant of the year at the industry’s glittering event, which took place in Aberdeen, while Arnold Locker took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Arnold, chairman of Whitby company Locker Trawlers, was away on holiday – the award was accepted by his son Andrew.
“It was a surprise,” he said.
“I didn’t expect to win it.
“The awards have been going for three years and are very much going from strength to strength and very much appreciated by the fishing industry in general.
“I’ve been reading Fishing News all my life and I look forward to it coming out more now than ever. The publication is more important now than it’s ever been.”
Arnold started fishing in 1970, becoming a leading trawler skipper.
He moved ashore full-time to oversee the fleet and expand Lockers Fish and LW Shellfish. Arnold served on the NFFO board of directors for 26 years, twice as chairman and twice as president.
He was a founder member and chairman of Alliance Fish Whitby Ltd and the Whitby Fishing School, retiring only last year as chairman, and continuing as president.
The Magpie Cafe reopened before Christmas with a new vigour after a devastating fire last year resulted in its closure for the main summer season – so Thursday night’s victory was all the sweeter. Owner Ian Robson was at the Aberdeen ceremony with his wife Elaine.
Chef Paul Gildroy, who supplies the fish recipe of the week to the Gazette, said: “It just shows that coming from such a bad year last year that we’re hopefully doing things right and this is testament to that. It’s nice for Ian because he is at the forefront of everything and taken all the brunt of it so nice that he has been able to receive the award.”
Paul was also delighted with the backing of the community which helped lift flagging spirits when the business was closed.
“The support we had when the fire happened was tremendous, along with all the support on social media on Thursday night and it’s reassuring to see it.”