The Charity was formed in July 1978 as the North Staffordshire Handicapped Children’s Boat Committee, changing its name to The Beatrice Charity in 2001. Following work led by the Stoke-on-Trent Branch of the Inland Waterways Association, the Committee was formed to provide a boat for children with disabilities in North Staffordshire. The initiative took advantage of a project started by the Prince of Wales, with funding from the Variety Club of Great Britain. The Prince said of people with walking difficulties that “a trip on a canal boat - with its gentle progress – is the nearest thing a handicapped person will come to enjoying a walk in the countryside” - the Beatrice, of course, caters for people with all kinds of disabilities and learning difficulties.
The Charity has a Committee currently comprising six people, and has the benefit of a range of experience and expertise, in boating, teaching children with additional needs, the care of people with learning disabilities, finance, business and in running and working in charities. The Chairman is Derek Hilyer, Andrea Astles is the Treasurer, Pat Davies is responsible for booking trips and crew, and Pam Hallam is a former teacher at a local school for children with special needs.
We have seven qualified skippers: Derek Hilyer, John Horton, Gerrry Northam, Terry Simpson, Pete Smith, Mark Thomas, and Geoff Ward. Terry and Mark are on the Committee.
Company registration number 0439782
Charity number 1089850
Boat Number 503859