Fairweather favoured the guests and volunteer crews for the Rotary Club of Newbury annual barge week which took place between the 8th & 14th September. The week gave the Newbury Rotary crews the opportunity of giving local community groups the pleasure of a day out on the beautiful Kennet & Avon canal on sections between Great Bedwyn and Woolhampton and back to Bedwyn again. This year they were delighted to entertain groups from Eight Bells Mental Health, Fairclose Day Centre, Kintbury Volunteers, The MS Society and The Polio Group..
Typical of the guest responses to their trips was on the Monday outing between Newbury & Kintbury, when Cyrilene of the Polio group commented “Thank you so very much for a very relaxing and enjoyable day. The volunteer Rotary crew worked very hard to make sure that we had a fantastic time – we hope that we can come again next year”
This is an annual event in Newbury Rotary’s Community calendar in which the club uses a specially adapted barge from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Bruce Branch fleet. Hannah is a specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boat which can be used by disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people having wide-access ramps for boarding at the stern deck and a electro hydraulic lift down into the boat. The extra width of the boats provides excellent manoeuvrability for wheelchair users and they all have special built-in facilities.Since the late 80’s, The Rotary Club of Newbury has utilized one of the KACT Bruce Branch canal boats to treat local charities to day trips as part of their Community programme. To date in excess of 200 day trips have been provided enabling over 2000 charity members to enjoy the tranquility of canal barge travel and our local Kennet Valley scenery. If any local charities are interested in being guests next year they should get in touch. www.newburyrotary.org
Irene Waters, the current Newbury Rotary President, commented “This event fully demonstrates our Rotary community focus and we get great joy from operating the barge week and seeing the pleasure that this gives to those members of our local community & charity groups that join us.”
The final leg between Hungerford and Great Bedwyn proved to be hard graft with low water levels causing two other boats to be marooned. Not so with the Rotary team who managed to get the boat Hannah back to base.