Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Swindon celebrates the 200th anniversary of its canal at the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Festival 
It was a chance for the town to see and enjoy the benefits of having a canal — and people flocked to the event held on Sunday at a restored section of the Wilts & Berks Canal at Wichelstowe in south Swindon.

By Bob Naylor

Swindon Mayor, Rex Barnett, takes a trip on the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust's new trip 
boat to open the Wichelstowe Canal Fest in Swindon. Picture by Bob Naylor
The event was opened by Swindon Mayor and Mayoress, Rex & Sandra Barnett who were on the first trip on a narrowboat in the town since the canal was abandoned in 1914.
    They were on board the Trust's new trip boat Dragonfly, a 36ft narrowboat that was named recently by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at a ceremony on the site of the start of a new link to the K&A Canal at Semington near Melksham.

After the boat's trip with local dignitaries it was kept very busy all day carrying passengers — as were the Trust's other, smaller boats, Damsel Fly and Willow.

Passengers board the trip boats                                                Picture by Bob Naylor

There was plenty to entertain visitors — for Children there was a bouncy castle, trampolines, hopper races, an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, henna art and fishing lessons. There was good food on sale, good weather, and plenty of trade and information stands. This event brought the canal home to Swindon.

Swindon Mayor Rex Barnett tries his hand at dousing                Picture by Bob Naylor

Swindon based canal artist Jane Clements showed visitors how she paints traditional
roses and castles on canalware                                                Picture by Bob Naylor

Youngsters from local canoe clubs out on the water                   Picture by Bob Naylor

Mike Rodd, right and David Inight of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust meet Swindon
Mayor and Mayoress. Rex and Sandra Barnett                      Picture by Bob Naylor

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