Lympstone’s famous ‘booksill’ raises £20,000 for RNLI

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 July 2018

Alan and Sally Burton, of The Booksill, being presented with the RNLI Excellence in Volunteering award. Picture: Exmouth RNLI

Alan and Sally Burton, of The Booksill, being presented with the RNLI Excellence in Volunteering award. Picture: Exmouth RNLI


A Lympstone couple, who have sold unwanted books for a lifesaving charity for 14 years, have received national recognition.

Alan and Sally Burton were presented with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) Excellence in Volunteering award for their ‘dedicated efforts’ in raising more than £20,000 for the national lifeboat charity.

The couple have been running the iconic ‘Booksill’ in Lympstone since 2004, accepting donated books from fellow villagers.

These books are then displayed on their window sill and sold on in exchange for donations to raise funds for Exmouth RNLI.

Alan paid tribute to his fellow villagers for raising more than £20,000 over 14 years, adding: “This amazing total directly reflects the fantastic generosity of the community here in Lympstone.

“It only works because of the never-ending supply of books and the kind donations given on purchase.

“Right at the beginning I wanted the Booksill to be inclusive, so the books are not priced, and we accept any sum of money for any book.

“The important thing is that as many books as possible find appreciative new readers.”

Alan and Sally have had a close affiliation with Exmouth RNLI for nearly half a century, spending 45 years supporting the charity’s fundraising initiatives.

Since 2004, their pop-up charity bookstore has become a popular part of the village with some visitors returning regularly to see what books they have available.

Sally added: “The RNLI is in our blood and it is terrific to have achieved such a momentous total over the years in support of the volunteer crews.”

The award was presented to the couple by Exmouth RNLI fundraising committee chairman Don Hodgkinson.

The RNLI Excellence in Volunteering award recognises the ‘special contribution’ some of the charity’s volunteers make.

The certificate is issued by the chairman and council of the RNLI which paid tribute to Alan and Sally’s ‘time and energy given to running the Booksill in Lympstone’.

To nominate an RNLI volunteer for and award, visit

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