The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s new tripboat was officially named by the outgoing Police & Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, Alan Charles, at Staveley Town Basin.
The new tripboat is called John Varley II. The new PCC, Hardyal Singh Dhindsa, also attended the event, which was held in pouring rain.
Some of the money for the new boat came from the PCC’s NICE (Neighbourhoods Investing Criminal Earnings) Fund, which provides financial support to community capital projects which will leave a lasting legacy for their communities.
There was an elaborate ceremony presided over by Robin Stonebridge, the Chair of the Trust, that included the invocation of Jinny Hurn and the pouring of beer on the bow and stern.
The new boat was constructed by Soar Valley Steel Boats and fitted out by Tristar Boats. It has a large wheelchair lift and space for passengers to sit outside on the foredeck. It was lowered into the basin by crane having arrived on the back of a lorry.It then had to go through a rigorous testing regime and crew familiarisation and training.
It features two beautiful stained glass portholes, designed by Trust member Kate Billington of Billigoat Designs. One shows an 18th Century Navvy and the other a 21st Century excavator, illustrating changing methods of construction on the canal.
The boat is now in full operation based at Tapton Lock, which is just off the Tesco roundabout on the A61 in Chesterfield. It runs walk-up trips every Sunday plus a huge range of other trips, including Fish & Chip Cruises and all day trips with a meal at Hollingwood Hub. For full details, see the Trust’s website.