07 May

Earlier in the week we shared how our founder, Andrew Flint was told no one would ever give him a boat. This week we collected our 6th donation! NB Atalanta is a 38 footer, beautifully cared for, clean and dry on the inside and in need of a coat of paint on the outside - we hope to do this as soon as the weather and man-power allows.

NB Atalanta is something of an exception as she's in such good condition, most of the boats we are given has some kind of issue, because most people with a perfectly sound boat they no longer need, will sell it, even the most tired of boats, if the hull is sound, is worth probably more than 10k. So we are particularly grateful to Terry and Cath for the donation of Atalanta, and to Glyn and Barbara for NB Daisy.  

Daisy needs a bit more work, as she is a grand old lady and lived a long and varied life. She is 102 years old - having been built in 1921, as a coal butty or barge. She was commissioned by TSR Elliotts,  working out of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and was originally 72 feet long.  Pulled by a horse, she worked the canal system  until 1966. She's principally a wooden boat but had a steel base put on somewhere in the 1980's. Her windows came out of old trams and have the most wonderful wind down action.    For a number of years she moored in Gas Street Basin in Birmingham - which was then a far cry from the tourist centre in is now! In 1985 she was sold privately, to Glyn and Barbara and another couple,  and became a holiday boat. She travelled up and down the canal network, from a home mooring in Market Harborough, a name which still forms part of her livery. Shortly before Covid, there was a nasty bang from the engine room and she limped back to her home moorings, in Market Harbourough and there she sat, like the rest of the world during lockdown. Imagine how Andy Flint felt when Glyn and Barbara contacted him saying the wanted to donate Daisy. They were very honest and admitted they thought the engine might have had it, but  she was too good to turn down!

We knew Daisy would need work - her bathroom needs replacing, and her wiring still uses round pin plugs! The wonderful windows need removing and resealing, and there are some parts of her wooden roof which need replacing. The area in the stern, where she was shortened, need attention from a welder and she's currently out of the water, in Droitwich Spa marina, for this to happen. 

At 70 ft she is about as long as narrowboats get, finding a home mooring for boats that  length is challenging, and for a novice, she can be a bit of a daunting thing to handle. For these reasons we decided that Daisy  wasn't suitable to house a veteran long-term. Instead it's our intention that she should remain our flagship, being used as a floating office,  accommodation for any of our trustees who need to be at our Sawley HQ over night, and be an assessment boat for any veterans who are being considered   for one of our boats. 

Narrowboat life isn't for everyone and some won't take to it. Hopefully, as Daisy is a heritage boat, we may be able to take her to some narrowboat rallies, to show her off and raise awareness for the Trust.  

So now we are approaching the stage of refurbishing Daisy - already we have been donated a sofa bed, thanks Sofabed Barn! And have previously had mattresses donated too. What we need now is funds or the offer of expert help to re-wire her and fit a bathroom. This isn't likely to be needed until well in to the summer and most likely be in Sawley in Nottingham.  Any offers of help would be gratefully received - Daisy has plenty to give and be a huge asset to the Trust.

If you'd like to help this grand old lady, contact Lizzie@forcesvetsafloat.co.uk

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