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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07865 091155.
Writer Tom Fort’s programme River of Dreams exploring the history of the River Trent, and descending the River Trent from Stoke on Trent to the Humber Estuary in a paddled and rowed punt, on foot, and on board the Humber sloop Spider T is to be screened on the BBC4 tonight.
The programme goes out at 9pm, and I’m sure it will make some intelligent entertainment. Some readers may remember being intrigued by his 2012 programme about the unpromising-sounding A303. Little did we know…
PS – We watched this last night. It’s well worth watching, though the Trent looks pretty scary in places, and I think Fort’s punt carries rather more buoyancy (and a shorter waterline) than strictly necessary, which will have made his boat a little slow…