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The River Tees Wheelyboat project came to fruition on 23rd September with the launch of the Tees Wheelyboats Club's new Mk III Wheelyboat by paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson. It was a culmination of more than two years hard work by the Tees Wheelyboats Club and The Wheelyboat Trust who worked together to fund and supply the first wheelchair accessible boat to operate on the River Tees.
The Tees Wheelyboats Club was set up specifically to address the lack of provision for disabled people to get out and about on the Tees at Stockton. There are 8 miles of navigable river between Stockton and Yarm but up until now there have been no facilities for disabled people to take part in waterborne activities. The Wheelyboat has solved that problem with the Club providing the necessary infrastructure and support to operate it successfully and make it available for the general public to use.
The Club has been campaigning for a Wheelyboat on the Tees for the last two years and were encouraged by the usage and feedback when loaned The Wheelyboat Trust's demonstrator Mk III Wheelyboat for the 2009 and 2010 Take To The Tees Festivals. Their own Wheelyboat was delivered in time for this year's TTTTF held in August.
The Wheelyboat is available seven days a week and can be booked by telephone or online.
The project would not have been possible without the generosity of its funders to whom the Tees Wheelyboats Club and The Wheelyboat Trust are immensely grateful:
The 1989 Willan Charitable Trust
The Banks Community Fund and The Banks Group
Mrs Jennifer Brown
The Tees Valley Community Foundation, Making a Difference Fund and GF Clarkson Fund
Christ's Hospital in Sherburn
The Hospital of God at Greatham
The Freemasons Grand Charity
Constance Green Foundation
The JSF Pollitzer Charitable Trust
Speaking at the launch Baroness Grey Thompson said ‘I think the Wheelyboat is amazing. It's such a great way for wheelchair users to access the river. It's such a lovely part of the River Tees and it's the only way for wheelchair users to get on. It was really amazing. I'm really glad I went out on the water.’
For more information visit www.tees-wheelyboats.org.uk or telephone Alan Kallagher, Tees Wheelyboats Club founder, on 07748 908646.
On Friday, 2nd September, Christine Hawkings launched Grafham Water's new Wheelyboat. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is named The John Hawkings in memory of Christine's husband who was a regular at Grafham and represented England in the disabled fly fishing team.
Grafham's new Wheelyboat has been purchased by Anglian Water and part-funded with the help of a grant from The Peter Harrison Foundation's ‘Opportunities Through Sport’ programme.
Grafham Water is one of the UK's largest man-made waters at 1,500 acres and is owned and operated by Anglian Water. It is one of the country's finest trout fisheries and is a regular host of national and international competitions. The new Wheelyboat joins the fleet of standard Coulam fishing boats and replaces the Mk II Wheelyboat that had been operating their since 2004. The Mk II has been found a new home and is now primarily used for pleasure boating and nature watching at Upton Warren Outdoor Education Centre near Bromsgrove.
To book the Wheelyboat telephone Grafham Water on 01480 810531.
Veteran actor and passionate angler, Bernard Cribbins OBE, launched Farmoor Reservoir's brand new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat on 19th August 2011. Farmoor Reservoir is owned and operated by Thames Water and as well as providing drinking water for nearby Oxford is run as a trout fishery. The new Wheelyboat joins the existing fleet of Coulam fishing boats. The total cost of the project was £12,000 and includes a 2kw Torqeedo electric outboard. The boat was purchased by Thames Water and part-funded with the help of a grant raised by The Wheelyboat Trust from The Peter Harrison Foundation. The grant was made from the Foundation's ‘Opportunities Through Sport’ programme which supports projects that help disabled people participate in sport and thus fulfil their potential and develop other personal and life skills. The grant provided funds for six Coulam 16 Wheelyboats of which Farmoor's is number five.
Bernard Cribbins said: “It is of huge importance to give disabled anglers the same opportunities as able-bodied anglers and this purpose built boat will do just that. This has been made possible with the generous donations made by Thames Water and The Peter Harrison Foundation and I am sure will provide hours of entertainment for many keen anglers.” Bernard Cribbins and Andy Beadsley fished together after the launch and christened the new boat with a couple of fighting fit rainbow trout.
On 14th June 2011 a brand new Mk III Wheelyboat was launched on Rollesby Broad for disabled visitors to use for pleasure boating, nature watching and fishing. The Wheelyboat is owned and operated by The Waterside, the Broads' newest visitor attraction. It has been purchased by them with the help of grants raised by The Wheelyboat Trust from The Scotshill Trust, Broads Authority Sustainable Development Fund and The Dixie Rose Findlay Charitable Trust. The Trust and The Waterside are very grateful to the donors for their tremendous support.
The new Wheelyboat has been named ‘Stuart's Dream’ after Stuart Bunn from Norwich who has autism and loves boating. It is powered by a 2kw Torqeedo electric outboard with batteries and charger permanently installed on board. It is fitted with a drive-from-wheelchair console enabling disabled people with severe impairments to experience helming the boat themselves. Belinda Minors, owner of The Waterside, said “Wheelchair accessible pleasure boats are few and far between and we wanted to ensure that all of our customers here at The Waterside can take to the water and enjoy the magnificent beauty of Rollesby Broad”.
On 8th June 2011 football legend and keen angler, Jack Charlton, launched a new Wheelyboat on Kielder Water. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is located at Leaplish Waterside Park and will provide disabled anglers with access to the lake's trout fishing. Kielder Water is Europe's largest man-made lake. Northumbrian Water owns and operates the lake and purchased the Wheelyboat with the help of a grant organised by The Wheelyboat Trust from The Peter Harrison Foundation. The Foundation's grant has also helped fund the purchase of Coulam 16 Wheelyboats on Hanningfield Reservoir, Grafham Water, Blithfield Reservoir and Farmoor Reservoir. Jack Charlton said “The Disabled Angler's Cup at Kielder is one of my favourite events of the season. The new boat is a superb addition to the fleet and gives complete and easy access and manoeuvrability. I'm very impressed.”
Engineering apprentices from Chemring Energetics UK have refurbished a Mk I Wheelyboat for Craufurdland Trout Fishery in Ayrshire. The Mk I is the original Wheelyboat model and is no longer built but secondhand Mk Is make ideal craft for smaller waters like Craufurdland's six acre lochan. The refurbished Mk I was originally supplied to St Johns Loch, Dunnet, in the far north of Scotland in 1990. Sadly, its remote location meant that is was under used and we are very grateful to the St Johns Loch Improvement Association for allowing us to find it a new home. Simon Craufurd who runs Craufurdland Trout Fishery promises it a very good home. The apprentices documented the boat's refurbishment in a Powerpoint presentation (approx 4 megabytes).
A joint project between the Rinn-Shannon Angling Club and Leitrim Association for People with Disabilities culminated on 17th April 2011 in the launch of a brand new Mk III Wheelyboat. The Wheelyboat will be available to local and visiting disabled people for a variety of waterborne activities including nature watching, pleasure trips and fishing. There is an abundance of wildlife on the river and surrounding loughs for nature watching and there is excellent salmon, trout and coarse fishing throughout the Shannon system.
The Wheelyboat was funded by the Leitrim Development Company Rural Development programme and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The Wheelyboat has been named ‘Ernest's Pride’ after Ernest Catherines who spearheaded the project for both organisations. Ernest sadly passed away in March but did witness the boat's arrival and enjoyed its first trip out.
Mk III Wheelyboat launched on the River Shannon Mk III Wheelyboat launched on the River Shannon
Countryside Mobility South West (CMSW) is a Natural England funded project that aims to encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors. It is part of Natural England's ‘Access to Nature’ scheme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is aimed particularly at people who face social exclusion or lack the ability to get out and about and enjoy natural places. The project supplies and helps fund off-road Tramper mobility scooters and wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats to a wide range of visitor attractions in the region. CMSW provides independence and freedom for people with limited mobility and allows them access to new areas of the countryside on their own, in organised groups or with friends and family. The first of the project's planned four Wheelyboats was launched at Tamar Lakes near Bude on 1st April 2011.
Tamar Lakes is owned and operated by South West Lakes Trust and the new Wheelyboat will mainly be used for pleasure boating and nature watching. CMSW provided 50% of the funding and the Environment Agency donated the balance. For a report of the launch from the Cornish & Devon Post click here.
Countryside Mobility South West CMSW Mk III Wheelyboat launched at Tamar Lakes
A new wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat for disabled trout anglers was launched at Bewl Water on 31st March 2011. Funding for the new boat was generously provided by the Environment Agency (from rod licence income in the Southern Region), Southern Water Services Ltd, Sussex Community Foundation, Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, Ian Askew Charitable Trust, Raymond & Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust, Loseley & Guildway Charitable Trust and Bewl Fishing Ltd. The launch took place on Bewl Water's Fly Fishing Guest Day when the fishery's friends and contributors are thanked for their help. Well known game angler, Peter Cockwill, kindly did the honours and declared the boat formally launched, flourishing a champagne bottle almost as well as he does a fly rod!
On 9th March 2011 Blithfield Reservoir launched it's brand new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat. Purchased by the reservoir's owners, South Staffs Water plc, the new Wheelyboat provides disabled anglers with access to the reservoir's trout and pike fishing. The Peter Harrison Foundation helped with a grant from their ‘Opportunities Through Sport’ programme which supports projects that help disabled people participate in sport and thus fulfil their potential and develop other personal and life skills.
On 29th October 2010, Dawn Primorolo MP formally launched a new wheelchair accessible Wheelyboat in Bristol Docks. The new boat, named ‘Aiming High’ after its principal sponsor, provides disabled people of all ages, and children in particular, with hassle-free and independent access to waterborne activities provided by Bristol Sailability in Bristol Docks and further afield on the River Avon and its estuary.
The new boat, a Mk IV Wheelyboat, is the result of a joint venture between Bristol Sailability and The Wheelyboat Trust. Its launch was the culmination of a year's hard work in which the two charities worked together to identify, fundraise, purchase and equip a suitable craft for the needs of Bristol Sailability and the disabled people they help.
In addition, the project's successful outcome has identified and evaluated a larger, more versatile wheelchair accessible craft than The Wheelyboat Trust previously had available in its portfolio of Wheelyboat models. Being the largest Wheelyboat to date, the Mk IV model will help the Trust facilitate similar projects countrywide and provide more opportunities for disabled people to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.
Thanks to their new boat, Bristol Sailability can now include disabled people throughout every level of activity and instruction available at their site, a goal their previous fleet of boats was unable to attain. For example, as well as being wheelchair accessible, the Mk IV Wheelyboat is specially designed to be wheelchair operable so disabled people can helm the boat themselves. This opens up a whole new area of experience, even for those with the most severe disabilities.
The project was funded thanks to the generosity of:
Bristol City Council's Aiming High Team
The Starfish Trust
The Lord's and Lady Taverners
The Boshier-Hinton Foundation
The Scobell Charitable Trust
The Alchemy Foundation
John Lewis Community Fund
The Lloyd Robinson Family Charitable Trust
Bristol Sailability and The Wheelyboat Trust are immensely grateful to all the donors for their tremendous support.
Hanningfield Reservoir took delivery of its new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat on 14th September 2010. The new Wheelyboat is one of three part-funded in 2010 by The Peter Harrison Foundation. The other two are for Grafham Water and Bewl Water.
Hanningfield's new Wheelyboat replaces one of its two older Mk I models. The Mk I has since been recovered, refurbished with a grant from The Gerald Micklem Charitable Trust and is awaiting a new home. The plan is to replace the second Mk I with a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat in 2011.
Hanningfield Reservoir, near Chelmsford, is a mixed fishery – trout and coarse – owned and managed by Essex and Suffolk Water Co.
Rudyard Lake's new Mk III Wheelyboat was officially launched on 8th August 2010. Rudyard Lake, near Leek, is a 200 year old canal head reservoir that has been popular with day trippers since the early 1800s. A variety of activities are catered for on site – canoeing, rowing boats, sailing, cycling, angling, walking, etc. It is looked after by the Rudyard Lake Trust. There is a new shop, café and activity centre all of which are accessible.
Their Wheelyboat was funded by Awards For All, Staffordshire Community Foundation and The Rudyard Lake League of Friends. It has a multi-purpose role enabling disabled people to participate in coarse fishing, pleasure boating and nature watching. It is propelled by a powerful but quiet Torqeedo electric outboard giving disabled people access to lake's entire 2½ mile length.
A Coulam 16 Wheelyboat has been delivered to the National Trust's Fell Foot Country Park , Lake Windermere. A new pontoon is being built to accommodate it in time for the 2011 season commencing in April. The Wheelyboat is available for angling, pleasure boating and nature watching.
Refurbished Mk I Wheelyboats
Refurbished Mk I Wheelyboats have been supplied to Blenheim Estate and Kennick Reservoir, March 2010.
Eyebrook's latest addition to its fleet of Wheelyboats, a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat, was launched on Tuesday, 18th May. It joins a Mk I and Mk II already in operation at the popular Leicestershire trout fishery, the venue with the most-used Wheelyboats in the UK. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a purpose-built fishing boat designed and built in partnership with JM Coulam Boatbuilders. It provides disabled anglers with a roll-on, roll-off wheelchair accessible boat that looks and performs exactly the same as a standard fishing boat. Grateful thanks to the following for their generous help funding the new boat: Corus UK Ltd, Wavell Wakefield & Middlesex Sports Foundation, Florence Turner Trust, Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Association, Maud Elkington Charitable Trust, Aylesford Family Trust, Ormonde Foundation, David Laing Foundation, Ammco Trust. For bookings telephone 01536 770264 or on the web at www.eyebrook.com.
Dick Strawbridge, local celebrity and campaigner for all things sustainable, launched the Mk III Wheelyboat at Golant on Friday, 9th April.
At 5.3m long the Mk III is a versatile craft with a carrying capacity of eight people including wheelchairs. This one has been fitted with a drive-from-wheelchair console enabling people with the most severe disabilities to experience the thrill of driving the boat themselves. The Mk III Wheelyboat has been designed for multi-purpose use enabling disabled people to fish, go pleasure boating and nature watching, etc as easily and independently as their able bodied counterparts. There is plenty of space on board for tackle and other equipment.
The Wheelyboat at Golant will be managed and operated by Trust supporters, Ann and Alan Barker, who live in the village. They will provide local and visiting disabled people with guided boating on the river for bird and nature watching, pleasure trips and angling. There is more than 5 miles of navigable river estuary between Fowey and Lostwithiel for trips like these. Up until now, no public access to these activities has existed on the Fowey estuary for disabled people, especially wheelchair users.
This project is a new departure for the Trust - it is the first ever Wheelyboat on estuarial waters. (The Mk III complies fully with regulations governing the supply of boats for this purpose and the boat itself is fully licensed as a trip boat by the harbour master). The estuary at Golant and the various creeks that branch off the main channel are relatively sheltered, but it is salt water nonetheless, and will give the Wheelyboat's users a real flavour of the sea. However, the most exciting feature of this project is the access it will provide to disabled people to a secluded and accessible floating bird hide owned by Ann and Alan in Penpoll Creek.
The South West is the busiest region in the UK for Wheelyboat provision and availability. There are now fourteen Wheelyboats between Dorset and Cornwall. Together they create a ‘critical mass’ of the facility in the region, the publicising and promotion of which is expertly handled by our very enthusiastic and dedicated South West Regional Volunteer, Rex Harpham.
The new Wheelyboat has been supplied by The Wheelyboat Trust and funded by Ann & Alan Barker, Lord Barnby's Foundation, Percy Bilton Charity, Environment Agency, Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Trust, Marjorie & Geoffrey Jones Charitable Trust, St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust, Cornwell Charitable Trust, Norman Family Charitable Trust. We are extremely grateful to all the funders for their support.
To book the Wheelyboat, telephone Ann or Alan on 0845 5195261.
Stithians Lake near Redruth, Cornwall, is the newest Mk III Wheelyboat venue. The launch ceremony took place in wet and windy conditions on Tuesday, March 22nd. Wheelyboat user and Environment Agency's Regional Fisheries, Environment and Recreation Advisory Committee member, Gillian Matthews, formally declared the Wheelyboat launched. Also in attendance was Peter Bartlett, Patron of South West Lakes Trust and Chris Klee, chairman of the EA's RFERAC committee.
The Wheelyboat was funded by the EA and The Hedley Foundation and in the speeches preceding the launch both organisations were warmly praised for their support. The Wheelyboat will be available for disabled people to use for angling (Stithians is a trout fishery), nature watching and pleasure boating. It will be operated by South West Lakes Trust, the lake's owners, and is the 14th Wheelyboat operating in the region. It will accommodate a maximum of eight adults including four wheelchairs quite comfortably.
To book the Wheelyboat please contact the Stithians Watersports Centre on 01209 860301. For more information about the lake visit www.swlakestrust.org.uk/leisure-activities/watersports/stithians-lake.
Bristol Sailability and The Wheelyboat Trust have joined forces to identify and equip a suitable 12 seater wheelchair accessible power boat for Bristol Sailability to operate in Bristol Docks and further afield on the River Avon and its estuary. In addition, the project's successful outcome will have identified and evaluated a larger, more versatile wheelchair accessible craft than the Trust currently has available in its portfolio of Wheelyboat models. Thus, the project will equip the Trust with a brand new Wheelyboat model to add to its range. Being the largest Wheelyboat to date, it will enable the Trust to initiate similar projects countrywide and provide more opportunities for disabled people to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.
Bristol Sailability aims to include disabled people throughout every level of activity and instruction available at their site, a goal their current fleet of boats is unable to attain. For example, as well as being wheelchair accessible, the new boat is specially designed to be ‘wheelchair operable’ so disabled people can helm the boat themselves. This opens up a whole new area of experience, even for those with the most severe disabilities.
One of the Wheelyboat Trust's latest projects (on the River Fowey estuary where a Mk III Wheelyboat operates as a trip boat taking disabled people bird watching, sightseeing and angling) has helped demonstrate the need for the Trust to add a larger craft to its portfolio that can be:
Used as a trip boat, pleasure boat or small ferry
Helmed by a crew yet still allowing plenty of space for disabled passengers
Safe and stable with better weather protection for passengers even on more exposed waters such as estuaries and inshore waters
More beneficial than current Wheelyboat models for groups and organisations such as outward bound centres where larger groups of people need accommodating
The use to which Bristol Sailability will be putting their Wheelyboat is also a good template for the type of project the Trust is expecting to help in the future with the availability of the new model.
An ‘off-the-shelf’ model built in the UK and sold primarily as a work boat has been identified and tested. It fulfils all the criteria necessary for use both by Bristol Sailability and by The Wheelyboat Trust as its brand new Wheelyboat model, the Mk IV. The boat is a 21' Sea Rover with a remote operated electric bow ramp. The package chosen includes an 80hp Suzuki outboard, console, A frame, navigation lights, side rails, wheelchair tracking installed on the deck, bimini cover and seats for non-wheelchair users.
Funds are currently being raised to supply the new boat and it is hoped it will be on the water in Bristol in July 2010.
Toft Newton's fishery record was smashed by Danny Peet in February with the capture of this 17lb rainbow trout. Fishing deep and slow in cold conditions, the trout took a white lure before being photographed and returned. Toft Newton is a small reservoir in rural Lincolnshire and fishes consistently well throughout the year. It has one of the original Wheelyboat models, the Mk I, and offers disabled anglers a warm welcome and good fishing.
For further info go to www.toftnewton.com.
Wheelyboat on The Tay Jim and David McDonald Mount Kilimanjaro
A former Royal Navy officer and his son embark for Central Africa later this month to raise funds for an ambitious project that will revolutionise access for disabled anglers and others to the Tay, one of Scotland's greatest rivers and its tributaries. Jim and David McDonald aim to raise at least £5,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the continent's highest peak at 19,360 ft. The monies raised will boost the River Tay Wheelyboat Appeal, being launched to provide specialist boats for the disabled to enjoy fishing and other activities such as nature watching on the river.
Jim McDonald, who lives at Scone and now works as a part-time ghillie on the Rivers Tay and Earn, explained: “During almost four decades in the Navy, salmon angling trips during periods of leave were always something to look forward to. However, as a serviceman one was always intensely aware of colleagues and friends suffering permanent injuries and thus becoming disabled. There is absolutely no reason why they and indeed so many other disabled people from all walks of life should not also be able to enjoy the great pleasure of spending time fishing or indulging in other pastimes on the Tay. Wheelyboats, with their unique design, make such access possible”.
Lieutenant McDonald added: “Over the past few weeks my son and I have been training intensively for the tough challenge ahead by tackling many of Perthshire's peaks including Ben Lawers, Ben Vorlich, Ben Chonzie and Ben Vrackie”.
Lorna Bromley-Martin, Development Manager for the Tay Foundation which is running the Wheelyboat Appeal, commented: “Jim and David's initiative looks set to kickstart this particularly worthwhile project, which will transform access for the less able-bodied to the River Tay and its tributaries. We wish them all good fortune with their adventure and hope that as many individuals and organisations as possible will give them the financial support that they deserve”.
The Appeal has a target of at least £50,000 - not only to purchase Coulam 16 Wheelyboats for disabled people but also to endow a fund for the ongoing servicing and running costs of the project and the provision of specially designated supervisory staff.
Mount Kilimanjaro Peak
Jim and David McDonald depart on October 24. Further details of the Kilimanjaro climb, for which six days have been allocated, are available at www.tayfoundation.org. Online donations may be made on the Tay Foundation Page of “Justgiving.com” - www.justgiving.com/rivertayfoundation.
Refurbished Mk I delivered to Blackdyke Trout Fishery, Lakenheath.
Welsh angling legend Moc Morgan launched Llandegfedd Reservoir's new Mk III Wheelyboat on March 25th. Designed to provide disabled people with hassle-free and independent access to the water, it joins the fleet of angling boats and is the 125th Wheelyboat to be supplied by The Wheelyboat Trust.
Llandegfedd is owned by Welsh Water and run by United Utilities Operational Services and is the largest trout fishery in south Wales. It is close to the conurbations of Newport and Cardiff and only 15 minutes from the M4. Its 430 acres offer excellent fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout, is home to an abundance of wildlife and has been classified a SSSI for overwintering wildfowl.
The new Wheelyboat has been funded by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. It replaces the original Mk I Wheelyboat situated at Llandegfedd for many years and now at the end of its useful life.
Well-loved character actor of cinema, stage, TV and radio, musical comedian and passionate angler, Bernard Cribbins, has joined the Trust's illustrious list of Patrons. Bernard's connection with the charity goes right back to its beginning – he was present at the launch with HRH Prince Charles at Fishmongers' Hall in 1985. In more recent years Bernard has been presenting the Alan Faulkner Memorial Award at the CLA Game Fair and helped raise funds for the Wheelyboat at Bushyleaze Trout Fishery.
Andy Beadsley, Director, said ‘This excellent news is long overdue. Bernard has been a loyal supporter from the outset and the Trust is honoured to have him on board as its newest Patron.’
Scotland's newest wheelchair accessible Wheelyboat “Willan Ahoy” was launched on Castle Loch, Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire on 30th October by TV's Fiona Armstrong, ably assisted by Martin Mitchell, Fishery Manager and John Hood, Field Officer for the Wheelyboat Trust. Also in attendance were Shona Warwick and Donald Paterson from Barony College, Mark Alton and John Rae from the Professional Anglers Association and Ross Gemmell from Annandale and Eskdale Ranger Service. Fiona also did a short news item on the boat and its use, which was aired on Border TV's evening news.
Castle Loch, Scotland's Premier coarse fishery, with many Scottish records, is an ideal venue for the new Mk III Wheelyboat. Its primary use will be for fishing but there have already been enquiries from other sectors wishing to use the boat for nature watching and boat trips. Martin Mitchell is keen to get the boat used by as many different groups as often as possible and will be promoting its use at shows and fairs throughout the Dumfries and Galloway area and further afield. As well as Fishery Manager at Castle Loch, Martin runs courses at Barony College and the boat will be used by its disabled students as an educational resource providing them with access to the loch and other local waters.
Funding for the purchase of the Mk III was generously donated by Peter Willan through the Willan Charitable Trust. Mr Willan, who regularly supports causes for disabled people, was delighted to help with this project. He is a keen angler and hopes the new Wheelyboat will encourage more disabled people to take up the activity.
The Wheelyboat Trust's Mk III Wheelyboat, with its bow door that lowers to form a ramp, is a multi purpose boat that can be used by individuals or groups of up to five adult wheelchair users, for fishing, pleasure boating or nature watching. The boat is also well suited as a trip boat or small ferry, benefiting a broader spectrum of disabled people across a wide range of waters. Its open level deck provides access to all corners of the boat and enables disabled people to helm the boat themselves if they wish. The Wheelyboat solves the problem of access faced by many disabled people on and around water – it is simplicity itself to board, provides a safe and stable platform and enables disabled people to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their able bodied counterparts.
A new award for the Most Innovative Product on show at the CLA Game Fair (Blenheim Palace, July 25th to 27th) has been won by The Wheelyboat Trust for its latest Wheelyboat model – the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat.
Jointly developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a purpose-built fishing boat that provides disabled anglers with step-free access on board via bank or pontoon. The design is based on Jim Coulam's standard 16' reservoir fishing boat with some ingenious modifications incorporated during construction. For the first time, disabled anglers have the use of an accessible boat that looks and performs like all the other boats in the fleet. Indeed, even though it has been modified to provide hassle-free wheelchair access, it is a boat that anyone can use with no diminution in performance compared to standard boats in the fleet. It is a genuinely dual-purpose craft – a boat that can be used on exactly the same terms by any angler, disabled or not.
The first production model was purchased by Anglian Water plc for use on Rutland Water. The Trust is delighted to have won the award. Andy Beadsley, Director, said ‘This new Wheelyboat ticks all the boxes in terms of accessibility, looks and performance. Disabled anglers have long been waiting for a boat that competes on equal terms with those their able bodied counterparts use. We must thank Jim Coulam for his expertise and enthusiasm which was fundamental in turning the design from idea into reality’.
The Trust was honoured to receive a visit from Prince Philip who admired the two Wheelyboats on show including the award winning Coulam 16 Wheelyboat.
The first production model of the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat has been purchased by Anglian Water and was officially launched at Rutland Water on 4th April. A crowd of well wishers had gathered and heard Jake Williams and Jon Marshall of Anglian Water and Andy Beadsley of The Wheelyboat Trust thank all those concerned for their help bringing the project to fruition. Particular praise went to the CLA Charitable Trust for funding the boat's development from concept to prototype and to Jim Coulam for his enthusiasm and dedication to the project. Andy Beadsley said that it had always been a goal of his since becoming Director of the Trust to develop a portfolio of different craft that met particular needs and requirements rather than being limited to a one-size-fits-all solution. This new boat was a significant step towards that aim and he hoped it would be the first of many on waters across the UK.
The boat will provide access to the reservoir's excellent trout fishing. It means that disabled anglers finally have hassle-free use of a boat that looks and performs like all the other boats in the angling fleet. They can truly fish on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts. While the Mk II Wheelyboat has been available on Rutland since 2005, some anglers feel conspicuous and at a disadvantage using it. This new boat not only means and end to the undignified manhandling of disabled anglers in and out of standard boats, but also brings relief to the fishery staff and their bad backs!
For more info on the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat click here.
Please take time to look at our earlier news and events and the current and past editions of the Waterwheels newsletter.
Sponsored by Corus Tubes, the Wheelyboat Rainbow Reel-In Competition held at Eyebrook Trout Fishery came to a close on 1st October with four anglers netting generous prizes to a total value of £700.
Ken Waters of Wing, Rutland won a £400 Eyebrook Tackle Shop voucher for the heaviest bag of 8 fish, weighing in at 17lbs 11ozs.
Fred Kettle of Wigston, Leicestershire, won a £200 voucher for the heaviest single rainbow which tipped the scales at 5lb 4ozs.
Don Pack, of Wellingborough, and John Gale, of Wing, both won £50 vouchers after their names were drawn out of the hat.
Ken was also the proud winner of no less than 5 of the 12 monthly prizes donated by Stuart Illsley of the Eyebrook Tackle Shop.
The competition was run very successfully on behalf of the Wheelyboat Trust by the staff at Eyebrook Trout Fishery in Leicestershire. Without their help and support, along with that of Stuart and the Corus Group, the first ever competition for disabled anglers using the specially designed Wheelyboats would never have happened. The Trust's grateful thanks goes to them and to all the anglers who supported the Rainbow Reel-In competition. The Trust would also like to thank Sue Hiatt, its Regional Volunteer in the Midlands, for all the hard work she undertook having conceived the idea and then brought it to fruition.
More details of the Rainbow Reel-In and other awards can be found in our Awards and Competitions section.
Thousands raised for for Tweed Wheelyboats
On 9th October in Kelso, Chris Tarrant, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire's question master (and a passionate angler), and comedian, Mike Osman, hosted a gala charity auction and dinner in aid of Tweed Wheelyboats.
The pair richly entertained the 250 diners and guests throughout the evening, skilfully relieving them of £20 notes at regular intervals. A silent auction was held during dinner and the main live auction followed. There were some extremely desirable lots on offer including a week in October 2008 fishing six of Tweed's finest beats (a once in a lifetime opportunity). Mike Osman proved an expert auctioneer and squeezed every ounce of value from each lot. The six days on six beats went for £15,000!
The Tweed Wheelyboat is a revolutionary new fishing boat developed by the Trust in conjunction with J M Coulam Boatbuilders specifically for disabled anglers on large rivers like Tweed. The first one, named Tweedability 1, was launched by Chris Tarrant in October 2006. The aim of the auction and dinner was to raise funds to repay the boat's development costs (funded by the Tweed Foundation), purchase two more boats for Tweed and endow The Wheelyboat Trust with funds to enable it to supply boats to other rivers. The evening was a huge success and the money raised exceeded all expectations.
As a result of publicity for the auction and dinner, an extremely generous benefactor donated funds to enable the second Tweed Wheelyboat (Tweedability 2) to be built in advance of the dinner and it was formally launched on the famous Junction Pool at Kelso on 1st October. Ray Crompton, a wheelchair user, whose friend donated the funds with the needs of Ray in mind, was the first angler to use the boat and christened it by catching a salmon the following day. He said ‘it's a fantastic boat and without it I simply could not get on the river’.
The boat's unique design means that the boatman and angler, between the two of them, can board and disembark easily and safely. This overcomes the major hurdle of access to the river for wheelchair users – the banks are steep and inaccessible, while the standard Tweed fishing boats are simply not built for wheelchair use. The Tweed Wheelyboat's success is in no small part due to the boatman who operate the boat and who find it so straightforward to row and control.
The Wheelyboat Trust is extremely grateful to the Tweed Foundation, which organised the entire event, for making it such an enormous success. Tweedability 3 will be launched in 2008.
To book the Tweed Wheelyboat, contact the Tweed Foundation on 01896 848271 or visit their website www.tweedfoundation.org.uk.
The new Mk III for Siblyback Lake in Cornwall was launched on 1st May by Lady Mary Holborow, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, in front of more than 100 guests. The boat's principal users will be from the Echo Centre in Liskeard, a day centre for disabled people, which raised the majority of funds enabling them to purchase the boat. They will use it for activity days on the lake in conjunction with their accessible sailing dinghy. The boat will be operated by South West Lakes Trust and will also be available for visitors to hire for trout fishing, pleasure boating and nature watching. The projects principal sponsors were HRH Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Awards for All and the Environment Agency.
The Wheelyboat has been fitted with adjustable handrails and tracking on the deck to secure wheelchairs for the comfort and safety of its special-needs users.
This project is typical of the wider direction the Trust is taking with Wheelyboat provision. It ticks all the boxes in terms of the variety of activities the boat provides access to, the people who benefit from it and the close cooperation between the project partners. It is the perfect example of the aims of the Wheelyboats For All project taking effect.
Wheelyboat bookings: 01579 342366
Venue website: www.swlakestrust.org.uk
Sponsored by Corus Tubes, the Wheelyboat Rainbow Reel-In Competition runs at Eyebrook Trout Fishery until 1st October. It is open to all Wheelyboat users (disabled anglers and their fishing partners) and offers some fantastic prizes.
One of the country's most picturesque reservoirs, Clatworthy, took delivery of its brand new Mk III Wheelyboat on 19th April. Its 130 acres offer excellent fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout and is home to an abundance of wildlife. The Mk III upgrades the fishery’s old Mk I Wheelyboat which will be fully refurbished and found a new home. The new boat has been jointly funded by Lord Barnby's Foundation, a charitable trust, and Wessex Water plc, Clatworthy's owners.
Wheelyboat bookings: 01984 624658
Westwater Angling Club has acquired a refurbished Mk I Wheelyboat for disabled anglers trout fishing on Hallington Reservoirs. Both reservoirs at Hallington now have Mk Is thanks to Northumbrian Water donating the Mk I from nearby Fontburn Reservoir.
Wheelyboat bookings: 01434 681405
On a bright, spring day, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall charmed guests at the launch of Sutton Bingham's new Wheelyboat with a story of how his father helped him catch a mackerel from Richmond Park when he was six! Ever since, he has been hooked on fishing. The new Wheelyboat replaces Sutton Bingham's old Mk I Wheelyboat and will be available for trout and coarse fishing as well as nature watching and pleasure boating. It has been jointly funded by Lord Barnby's Foundation, a charitable trust, and Wessex Water plc, Sutton Bingham's owners.
Wheelyboat bookings: 01935 872389
Fermoy Town & District Anglers have 2 miles of salmon and coarse fishing on Ireland's famous River Blackwater and have acquired their own Wheelyboat to provide disabled anglers with access to the fishing. The boat also takes disabled people, school children, etc on sightseeing tours up the river. The first Blackwater Wheelyboat was supplied in August 2004 and is used by Cappoquin Salmon & Trout Angling Association.
Wheelyboat bookings: 00 353 87 922 3983
Staylittle Outdoor Centre is run by Powys County Council and offers its visitors, mainly educational groups, a wide range of outdoor activities. The Wheelyboat provides disabled visitors with pleasure boating and ferry trips on Llyn Clywedog.
Enquiries: 01686 430630
More news and details of our activities are available in the current and past editions of the Waterwheels newsletters.
South Shields Sea Cadets’ brand new Mk IV Wheelyboat was launched on the River Tyne at TS Collingwood on 26th September. Attending were top brass from the Sea Cadets, local MP Emma Lewell-Buck and members of the Tees Wheelyboats Club from Stockton. The Sea Cadets’ band provided musical entertainment before and after the formalities of the launch which included a blessing by the Cadets’ Padre, Rev Paul Kennedy. Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, was the first disabled person on board after the launch and was taken for a spin during which he took the controls at the drive-from-wheelchair helm.
Won this year by Bushyleaze Trout Fishery, Gloucestershire.
On Tuesday 15 July over 150 guests attended a reception at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre to celebrate the 30th anniversary of national charity, The Wheelyboat Trust. The occasion also marked the launch of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 – a brand new model and the most versatile developed to date. It is the 160th Wheelyboat to be launched by the Trust, and being based at Bisham Abbey Sailing & Navigation School, it will be the first Wheelyboat to operate anywhere on the River Thames, as part of the Boatability project in collaboration with the Rivertime Boat Trust, which aims to increase disabled people’s active participation in watersports.
The annual Duschenne Family Support Group day at Bewl Water in Kent hosted by the Mariners of Bewl took place on 5th July. A Mk III Wheelyboat was loaned by the Trust to MOB and Wheelyboat trips around Bewl’s 700 acres were much enjoyed by the children. Phillippa Farrant, DFSG’s Development Officer, said ‘I was at Bewl Water on Saturday where our families including my son were able to access and use your boat, it really made their day and we are so grateful.’ For more information about the group go to www.facebook.com/DuchenneFamilySupportGroup and www.dfsg.org.uk.
A Mk III Wheelyboat was launched on Loch Ken at Galloway Activity Centre on 15th April. Loch Ken is southern Scotland’s largest loch and is largely inaccessible to disabled people. However, Galloway Activity Centre’s new Mk III Wheelyboat will provide disabled people, their families, friends and carers with safe and independent access to the water.
A wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat specially designed for disabled anglers was formally launched at the Lake of Menteith on Friday, 25th October by the Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP. The Wheelyboat is named ‘Christopher Robin’ in memory of the late Christopher Graves from Galloway whose legacy to the Trust funded the Wheelyboat. Mr Graves' bequest is also marked with a plaque in the boat inscribed ‘in order that nobody be deprived of the joy of fishing’.
A brand new wheelchair accessible ‘Wheelyboat’, specially designed to provide disabled people with hassle-free and independent access to waterborne activities, was launched at Maunsel Lock Canal Centre on Thursday 15th August. The new Wheelyboat enables disabled adults and children to participate in boat trips along the beautiful Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.
A new Mk III Wheelyboat was launced at Fieldes Fun's Weir Active project on 11th July. The launch was presided over by guest of honour Kay Twitchen OBE, Chairman of Essex County Council. Feildes Fun's new Wheelyboat will be used for pleasure boating on the Rivers Lee and Stort. The Weir Active project, after which the Wheelyboat has been named, is located on a one acre island between the two rivers and provides disabled people from Essex and Hertfordshire with a community outreach and activity centre. It will offer a range of therapeutic activities to disabled people, their families and carers.
The Wheelyboat Trust relies on donations from its supporters to develop and purchase new craft. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online. Click here to make a donation.