An 11-year-old local boy has raised £640 via Crowdfunding for Torquay Museum by running a ‘marathon’ during lockdown, clocking up a few miles per day, to raise much-needed funds for the museum, which has been badly affected financially by the lockdown and subsequent Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.

View of the harbour from the Rock walkView of the harbour from the Rock walk

Emerson Ives, who attends All Saints Primary School in Babbacombe, has been a regular at Torquay Museum with his mum, Justine, ever since he was a toddler.

“I love the museum and don’t want it to close,” said Emerson. “That’s why I had to try and help.

“It’s so much fun visiting with friends and my mum. We’ve been to pretty much every big exhibition the museum has had ever since I was little. I particularly loved the sci-fi exhibitions, with the stormtroopers and daleks.”

Justine Ives, Emerson’s mum, fondly recalls visiting Torquay Museum when she was a child.

Bombed Rotunda in Torwood Street on May 29, 1944. This attack appeared to be aimed at the harbour slipways and was just eight days before D-Day.Bombed Rotunda in Torwood Street on May 29, 1944. This attack appeared to be aimed at the harbour slipways and was just eight days before D-Day.

She said: “I’ve been fascinated by the museum from a very early age, and I wanted to share that with Emerson from the earliest possible moment.

“It’s vitally important that we ensure Torquay Museum is here for generations to come, helping to preserve and display the amazing heritage of Torbay.

“The museum has been such an important part of Torquay for 175 years now and is the oldest museum in Devon. We have to ensure that it doesn’t become a victim of Covid-19, and make sure that it’s here for another 175 years.”

Torquay Museum launched a Crowdfunding campaign to try to plug a large funding gap caused by lockdown, when the museum was forced to close its doors to visitors.

The campaign raised £11,500 plus gift aid from hundreds of supporters from across the globe. Combined with Emerson’s amazing efforts, a Torbay Council Business Support Grant, and a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Torquay Museum was able to reopen its doors to the public in late July.

But the museum is not out of the woods yet, and faces a tough financial year ahead.

A registered charity, which receives no regular funding from central Government and a small grant from Torbay Council, it costs £170,000 each year to keep the museum running.

Encouraging local people back into the museum after lockdown is essential to ensuring its future is a bright one.