Volunteers update and urgent call-out

Every year at this time we have to produce an annual report in time for the upcoming A.G.M.
Hazel Mayow, our Volunteer Co-ordinator, has written this –
The main priorities for volunteering in the last year have been progressing the rebuild of Hazel and keeping Forget-me-Not and Southam in suitable condition to be used for training and support to the Hazel project. It is for these purposes that money has been available from the Big Lottery Fund.
The three things Hazel (the person) has been recruiting new volunteers for have been Boat-sitting – lighting the ranges in FMN and Southam to drive out the damp, and doing general cleaning and small maintenance jobs – the Recycling trips, and Skipper and crew members’ training for the planned well-being trips.
The Shop has been kept going through difficult times – caused by a change in management – by a sterling effort on the part of volunteers – they all deserve medals. We could still do with more capable, self-motivating helpers though, and  interested applicants should talk to Christine, our new shop manager.
Skipper and crew volunteers – urgent call out!
Crew training needs to be happening in March and April in order to give a suitable run up to the summer. A press release is being sent out to local press, and also various waterways publications in an effort to attract suitably boaty volunteers who would be able to commit the necessary time.
Woodland Wednesday. Chris and Hazel have started a liason with Tameside Countryside service with the aim of using one of their sites to sustainably harvest firewood for the boats. We are negotiating the paperwork for a longer term arrangement, but Hazel will hopefully be running a coppicing training day on Wednesday 25th March to gauge how it would work. All welcome!

Thank you

The Council of Management and all the volunteers would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all members who’ve bought raffle tickets and/or sent donations with their membership money.

Also THANK YOU to all who responded to our appeal on Facebook and have donated via the Donate button on this website. This money has been put in Hazel’s fund and she’s looking pretty good !!

She’ll be in Stalybridge tomorrow, 29th November, showing off her finery at their Victorian Market, being held during the day while waiting for Father Christmas to come and switch on the town lights later.

Hazel will be tucked up back at the boatyard by the time he arrives but it won’t be too long now before she leaves for good to become a well-being boat and it’s thanks to all members, sponsors, donaters and workers and volunteers.

Local news update about ”Hazel”

This is an extract from an article in the Manchester Evening News –

Oct 02, 2014 By Sue Carr 

Launch date set for Edwardian canal boat cruises

The restored barge, named Hazel, will run pleasure cruises for people with mental health problems.

An Edwardian canal boat which has been restored to run pleasure cruises for people with mental health problems will be out on the water by Christmas. The barge, named Hazel, was gifted to the Wooden Canal Boat Society charity in the 1980s. But it is only recently that volunteers have been able to raise the funds to get her back in shipshape.

After three years the team behind her transformation say they will be adding the finishing touches in the next few weeks and hope to take her out for test runs and on her first trips by the end of the year. Chris Leah, who founded the charity based in Ashton, Tameside, secured a £168,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to carry out some of the work.

The rest has been completed thanks to donations and the hard work of volunteers.

He said: “It’s taking a little bit longer and costing a little bit more than we anticipated but we are hoping to have her doing test runs and maybe offering trips by Christmas, going into full service by next Easter. We took Hazel out of the water on July 8, 2011, and most people are quite amazed by how quickly we have restored her and to such a high standard. The work left to do is mostly internal. While the weather has been good we’ve been concentrating on anything left to do on the outside. The biggest problem we’ve got at the moment is getting the wheelchair lift up and running – it’s not our area of expertise!”

Chris will soon be in need of skippers but is currently looking for volunteers who are willing to share their skills – particularly carpenters, plumbers, electricians and engineers.



We need funds to get Hazel finished. Please use the Donate button on the website

Update December 2014.

Many thanks to all who read this post and donated via the website. Your money has been earmarked to be used for finishing Hazel and that is getting very close now!!!

Our grant from the Lottery is not available for the final finishing of Hazel.

We need money for the last items to complete her fitting out and to pay the boatbuilder who’s working hard on her and overseeing all the volunteers.

Please help by donating – you can use the Donate button and say that you want to help Hazel get finished so that she can become a well-being boat to give much-needed respite trips.

Thank you

Hazel’s Special Day


Wooden Canal Boat Society

will be launching Narrowboat “Hazel” Into the canal!


Friday 3rd May 2013

Viewing available from the towpath side 100 yards east of lock 7W (near Tescos)

Followed by

An Evening of

Folk Dancing and Music

Live Music Provided by Tom Kitching & Friends

Comedy provided by “Your Dad”

Starts 7:30pm Friday May 3rd 2013


Hurst Community Centre

Kings Road



Adults £6 in advance, £7 on the door

Aged 15 and under £4 in advance, £5 on the door

Available from

Wooden Canal Boat Society Shop

173 Stamford Street




We need RAFFLE PRIZES for our Folk Dance and Comedy Evening on Friday, 3rd May.

If you have anything you could donate please contact us on:  0777 348 4382               Please note – this number is for people wishing to donate raffle prizes.  If you want to contact our charity shop the number is 0161 330 8422


4 more planks

The last couple of days have been great. We steamed two planks yesterday and 2 planks today. There was a great turnout of volunteers and the weather was brilliant. Today we dug our way into the wood store and extracted some oak boards, left over from work on “Lilith” and “Southam”. Despite being bone dry, they’re still pretty heavy. We’ll use them for straight side planks on “Hazel”. Crossing fingers now that we’re going to be able to get the top bends out of the logs that we got from Cumbria. If not its going to be an expensive trip to Grimsby to buy another log.

A good day

After a bit of a slow down through the winter, work on “Hazel” is picking up speed. We’re now 3 planks up, that’s halfway up, though we’re past halfway at the ends as there’s an extra half a plank at each end. We’ve steamed 16 planks, 12 more to go. Today was mostly about bolting the planks to the wrought iron Knees, though Pete Nicholson busied himself with fitting the straight middle plank on the starboard side. Steve the Viking and his partner Liz moved and restacked some of the shearing ready to be run through the planer to have its edges straightened ready for fitting. In the afternoon a hailstorm briefly halted proceedings.

Hazel’s Progress Report

Chris has submitted yet another report this time covering the work done during the winter this brings us almost entirely up to date apart from telling you about the painstaking process of spiking up every bottom board to the garboard strakes, when you have around 90 bottom boards and each one needs two long square nails at 10mm in diameter driving up through three inches of greenheart bottom boards and then through roughly 9 inches of oak it isn’t a quick easy or fun job and that is not including the oil soaked oakum that needs to be wrapped around the nail heads and sandwiched between the bottom boards and the garboard strakes before driving the nails.

You can find his progress report at http://wcbs.org.uk//?page_id=221