Obviously 2021 has been a disappointing year, but we managed to run 30 booked trips, 15 of them for schools – we welcomed 123 children to the canal, with 253 passengers in total. For a comparison, in 2019 we ran 126 trips, 80 of them for schools, carrying nearly 600 children and over-all we had 1,261 passengers. It was a pleasure to see how much the children took delight in getting out again, with their friends and teachers, and being on the water was particularly exciting.
If the pandemic is brought under control we have every reason to believe we can get back to the level of service we have provided for so many years. Our finances are sound, the boat is in a good condition, and it is encouraging that our volunteer numbers are healthy: we expect to start 2022 with over 20 volunteer crew members, eight of them are qualified skippers and more will be assessed over the year.
Introduction to Beatrice
We've produced a brand new video to give potential users a brief introduction to the boat. In the video one of our skippers, Clive Stagg was at the helm, the filming was kindly done by a professional drone pilot, Tim Vickerstaff, and another of our skippers, Mervyn Gamage, provided the voiceover and production.
You can view the video by clicking on it. We hope you enjoy it and maybe we'll see you aboard soon.
Hazelhurst locks have re-opened. The Canal and River Trust, which manages the Caldon Canal, closed the locks to conserve water to supply other parts of the network after a period of dry weather. The restriction has now been lifted and we are once again able to offer our full range of trips, from 3 hours up to 7 hours, towards Froghall or Leek.
New crew in training
During the time when the Covid pandemic made it impossible to run public trips, we have been able to train new crew members and existing crew have taken the opportunity to re-familiarise themselves with Beatrice and get used to new safety procedures.
Beatrice always operates with a crew of two or three, a qualified Skipper and at least one other trained crew member. All are volunteers. If you would like to join our team no previous experience is necessary. If you later decide you would like to be one of our Skippers we will send you on a one-day course, at our expense, to gain the Royal Yachting Association qualification needed.
If you would like to know more please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridge 37 replacement
The Canal and River Trust, who are responsible for the Caldon Canal, have updated us on plans to rebuild Bridge 37, below Hazelhurst Locks, that was damaged and had to be demolished last year. There are still a lot of issues to resolve, and they are not yet able to give definite timings or specifications on the work, but they say they are still hoping to get the work started later this year, and aspiring to have it concluded and open for use by May 2022
Beatrice received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony on 4 October 2019. The Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE KStJ, presented us with a domed crystal and a certificate signed by HM the Queen. This award recognises over 40 years of service to children with special needs, and to adults with disabilities. It is a reward for the wonderful work of many volunteers who have given their services freely and cheerfully. The picture shows The Lord Lieutenant on the boat with a party from the Meadows School, Leek and two of our trustees.