Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Kintbury panto to aid boating charity

The annual pantomime by the Kintbury St Mary's Drama Group this year will raise money for the Bruce Trust — a charity which provides boating holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or older people from its bases at Lower Foxhangers and Great Bedwyn on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
Email: rebecca.bruce@brucetrust.org.uk


Bruce Trust Fact File
The Bruce Trust was formed in 1988 by Louise and David Bruce after they sold their chain of Firkin Pubs in London.

They were keen to plough some of the proceeds into a project that would benefit the community and they had become intrigued by the possibility of offering self-catering holidays to disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people cruising on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

After much research they initially put their own money into the project — and over the years they have received many generous donations to the Trust enabling the fleet to be increased to four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats.

The extra width of the boats gives plenty of space for wheelchair users to manoeuvre and the boats have special built-in facilities, including hydraulic lifts, wide-access boarding ramps, low-level bunks, heating and specially fitted showers and toilets.


Their have been designed so that wheelchair users can steer the boat using the tiller and both Hannah and Rachel have been fitted with a remote steering device that enables people with less upper body mobility to steer from their wheelchair using a joystick.

The Bruce Trust has made it possible for more than 13,000 disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people — and their carers, friends or family — to enjoy participative canal-cruising holidays on the boats. As one family said:


“With increasing age and disability my father Harry’s days of enjoying canal holidays seemed to be over. But last week, there he was rising up on the lift to take the tiller once again and having a wonderful holiday with four generations of his family”.

The holiday makers are helped on their way by the dedication of more than 90 voluntary helpers who make sure that the Trust can operate in the best and most economical fashion.

Some volunteers also crew day trips — this year more than 400 people from day centres or residential homes for the elderly were able to enjoy a day of peaceful cruising on the canal.






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