The folks of Faversham held a launching ceremony for a 14-foot punt named Kingfisher on the town’s Stonebridge pond on Sunday.
The punt was built by local long-term unemployed people under the direction of local boatbuilder Alan Thorne under a Department of Work and Pensions-funded educational scheme, and is to be used by a local organisation, the Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond for clearing ancient waterways between the pond and the tidal head of Faversham Creek.
Alan’s workshop is in the Faversham Creek Trust’s building, which is housed in an old gasworks by the head of the Creek.
The waterways are remnants of an old gunpowder works that used leather-bound boats to transport gunpowder (rather than iron-bound wheeled carts) in order to avoid striking sparks.
The boatbuilding project was managed by The Creek Learning Project in partnership with the Brents Community Association, and aims to help local unemployed people gain the confidence to get into work or volunteering.
Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond chair Fern Alder (wearing a yellow jacket in the photos above) said ‘I would like to say a big thank you, on behalf of the whole group, for the truly beautiful and very useful punt that has been made for us.’
My thanks go to the FCT’s Griselda Mussett for the photos.
Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects – constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques. Contact him by email at email@example.com or phone 07865 091155.
The Thames Traditional Boat Festival will be back for 2015, following the disappointment of having to cancel last year due to flooding, The River Thames News is reporting this morning.
It will be held at Henley on the 18th and 19th July.
A new management team seems to be trying to widen the event’s appeal, with what they say will be many new attractions and exhibits including vintage and classic cars, as well as traditional boats, and improved catering.
See the Thames Trad Boat Festival website for information - and if you haven’t seen them before, don’t miss photo gallery 1 and photo gallery 2, and, if you’re a photographer, this link.
The Faversham Creek Trust folks are organising an evening of reminiscences about the Creek based around the restoration of the famous world-circling tall ship Eye of the Wind at Faversham in the 1970s.
The event is to take place at the Fleur de Lys hall in the town on the 21st February at 7pm (doors open at 6.30). Tickets are rather restricted as the organisers want to find room for people with memories and stories to share, but entrance is free. If you’d like to attend, contact the trust.
(Read about the Eye here and here.)
The trust folks will show film provided by Tiger Timbs, who was involved in the restoration and later became her master.
The film shows a lot of the work that was done in the Creek and also the history of the ship herself, and this will hopefully trigger lots of memories of that time from locals and others who were involved – not only about what was happening on the Eye herself, but also around the Creek generally.
There will also be a short talk from the skipper of the Leila – a spectacular Victorian gentleman’s racing yacht based in Suffolk, which is run to benefit the same kind of community that the Creek Trust is hoping to involve in the maritime revival of Faversham Creek.
The Leila Trust has already offered a subsidised berth to an unemployed young (or not so young) person from Faversham, and we are hoping that we will be able to have some youngsters in the audience too let them see a bit of the history and maybe inspire them to get involved.
PS… I’m planning to be at the event and have been honoured to be asked to play some tunes and maybe chip in with a song if there’s time. No doubt I’ll think of a few appropriate items…