This is an extract from an article in the Manchester Evening News –
Oct 02, 2014 By Sue Carr
Launch date set for Edwardian canal boat cruises
The restored barge, named Hazel, will run pleasure cruises for people with mental health problems.
An Edwardian canal boat which has been restored to run pleasure cruises for people with mental health problems will be out on the water by Christmas. The barge, named Hazel, was gifted to the Wooden Canal Boat Society charity in the 1980s. But it is only recently that volunteers have been able to raise the funds to get her back in shipshape.
After three years the team behind her transformation say they will be adding the finishing touches in the next few weeks and hope to take her out for test runs and on her first trips by the end of the year. Chris Leah, who founded the charity based in Ashton, Tameside, secured a £168,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to carry out some of the work.
The rest has been completed thanks to donations and the hard work of volunteers.
He said: “It’s taking a little bit longer and costing a little bit more than we anticipated but we are hoping to have her doing test runs and maybe offering trips by Christmas, going into full service by next Easter. “We took Hazel out of the water on July 8, 2011, and most people are quite amazed by how quickly we have restored her and to such a high standard. The work left to do is mostly internal. While the weather has been good we’ve been concentrating on anything left to do on the outside. The biggest problem we’ve got at the moment is getting the wheelchair lift up and running – it’s not our area of expertise!”
Chris will soon be in need of skippers but is currently looking for volunteers who are willing to share their skills – particularly carpenters, plumbers, electricians and engineers.