Volunteers help Bramble project sail forward

WORKING HARD: Tim Ellis painting Bramble in Stourport Canal Basins.

WORKING HARD: Tim Ellis painting Bramble in Stourport Canal Basins. Buy this photo

First published in News

WORK to restore Bramble, the historic working canal boat moored in Stourport, is continuing to sail forward thanks to a dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

Bramble was originally gifted to Stourport Forward by the Canal and River Trust for just £1 and has been supported through The Shuttle's Bramble Appeal since 2012.

Built in 1934, Bramble started working life as a Fellows, Morton and Clayton working canal boat, transporting goods along the canals such as clay, coal, timber and grain.

Funds raised by generous Shuttle readers have helped to restore Bramble to its former glory and after an initial delay, volunteers have now fitted a new prop shaft, boarded the hold to create an undercover area for educational visits, blacked the bottom of the boat and are currently painting the outside.

Once the painting of the outside has been completed, work is planned to recreate the cabin and living quarters inside Bramble, which will be furnished with replica items.

Stourport Forward volunteers are appealing for the donation of a traditional stove, which does not need to be in working order, to complete the restoration of the replica cabin.

The restoration of Bramble will give Stourport Canal Basins its own historic working boat available for visitors, events and school visits all year round.

Stourport Forward member Tim Ellis said: "This is such a wonderful opportunity to restore Bramble for use as a historic working canal boat on site.

"On project completion visitors will be able to step inside the recently restored canal boat, see the way that the boat would have been furnished with rag rugs, lace plates and even a draw that doubled up as a cot, learn about what it would have been like to live in tiny living quarters and the physical labour involved in working on a canal boat in times past."

Stourport Forward chairman Pauline Annis said: "This is such an exciting project, we are extremely grateful to Canal and River Trust for making Bramble available to us and for all their support over the years.

"We are also extremely grateful to The Shuttle for helping to raise the funds and the materials to restore Bramble, to all our dedicated hard-working volunteers and everyone who has supported the Bramble Appeal."

Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal and River Trust, said: “The volunteers have done a brilliant job so far in restoring Bramble. These working boats really help to bring the history of our waterways to life and show just how challenging life was for the thousands of people whose whole life was centred on working the canals.

"I’m looking forward to seeing the day when Bramble can once again navigate our wonderful waterways and wish all the volunteers lots of luck with the restoration.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help to restore Bramble or to donate materials should contact Liz Sheerin, of Stourport Forward on 01299 822827.

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