Wednesday 30 May 2012

Introducing: Community Boats in the Jubilee Pageant!

Lyneal Trust pageant rehearsal.
There’ll be more than one thousand boats parading down the River Thames this Sunday 3rd June: Fireboats, sail boats, motor boats, historic boats, manpowered boats, kayaks, working boats, passenger boats, barges and narrowboats are all preparing for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant. With three boats applying for every place it’s good to see a selection of community canal boats are going to be part of the event. 

The National Community Boats Association (NCBA) supports and represents community boating organisations on the inland waterways. If you live near a canal there may even be a project near you  using the waterways for socially inclusive activities. They work both with individuals and community based groups providing access to the waterways for disabled, disadvantaged or excluded people in our society. Projects may focus on education, rehabilitation (health or offending) and building, connecting or strengthening communities. 

Shropshire Lad

The Lyneal Trust are sending two boats on a 220 mile journey to London to join the flotilla: The Shropshire Lass and The Shropshire Lad. The boats’ crews will include army servicemen and women wounded in action. This charity provides holidays for people with disabilities and is located near Ellesmere on the Llangollen canal. 

Wheldale, from The Yorkshire Waterways Museum has also been invited to join Her Majesty’s Pageant in the National Historic Ships section. Although Wheldale has been a Goole based tug all of her working life, she was built in 1959 by EC Jones Boat Builders at Brentford , which is only a few miles from the Pageant mustering point. The crew are excited to be taking Wheldale on a return journey ‘home’ for the first time in 53 years. 
Wheldale: Pageant Crew: Museum volunteers Ernie Sherburn and Steve Gardham,
Museum Engineer Chris Sherburn & Museum Manager Rachel Walker

Although Tarporley at 75 years old, is also on the register of National Historic Ships she will be included in the narrowboat and barge section of the river pageant. She is owned by the charity Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association (CCNA) and crewed by volunteers.


John Sheridan, Chair of CCNA, said: “it is a great honour and a privilege for our boat Tarporley to have been accepted as a participant in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant. On this very special occasion, we will be carrying CCNA Trustees and Directors and other volunteers – Tarporley will be decked out with red white and blue bunting and flags, before travelling to the mustering point on the Thames, on the day preceding the Pageant.”

Tarporley takes a wide variety of groups on local trips on the Regent’s Canal, and can provide residential accommodation for longer trips. CCNA particularly welcomes bookings from officially established community groups and organisations to allow people to enjoy cruising on a historic narrowboat who might otherwise not have such an opportunity.  

The Pirate Prince

The Pirate Prince is also based on the Regents Canal at The Pirate Castle in Camden.
The centre was founded 40 years ago to provide water based activities, but staff and volunteers now provide a range of training and community activities on water and ashore. They welcome people of all ages and walks of life.

Red Watch, The Canal  Boat  Project  provides accessible hire boats for disabled groups and community groups, for either day trips or longer holiday excursions. 

Swingbridge 2

Swingbridge 2 is the smallest of the narrowboats, at 32 feet long. She is a purpose built work-boat allowing access to the banks for volunteers to undertake clearance and conservation work. She is owned and managed by  a skills and educational charity, The  Surrey  Care  Trust 

Having so many representatives in the pageant is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the work that community boating projects do nationwide. Many people in our local communities are unable to access the waterways because of a lack of finances. The need to physically regenerate the inland waterways is a popular and ongoing current focus. However, our society is currently losing the opportunity for social regeneration; while communities are living so close to canals and navigations that they cannot use.

I am proud to welcome the NCBA as my newest client and look forward to setting up their blog soon.
If you’d like to find out more about the NCBA you can visit  I've also set up a shiny new Twitter account @CommunityBoats so you can keep in touch with what the NCBA are up to.

Disclosure: I was paid to write this post as my first assignment in my work to raise awareness of the NCBA. But I have really enjoyed finding out all of this information and I hope you did too! :-) 
If you're going to her Majesty's Pageant give the community boats a wave!

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