Volunteers’ Week

1-7th June is Volunteers’ Week and here at the Wooden Canal Boat Society we’d like to say a huge

THANK YOU           Vielen Dank         Ευχαριστώ                      Aitäh                      Dziękuję Ci

♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  ♥♥  

            to all our volunteers, past and present. We couldn’t do it without you.

BUT (oh, there’s always a ‘but’ !!) we really need more of you to join our team. Our shop is always in need of good, reliable drivers and our management team in need of people to do the admin work to back up everyone else. So if you’ve any experience or skills in any kind of admin from basic stuff like keeping records to managing volunteers, fundraising or finance work please do get in touch.

If you email general@wcbs.org.uk your email will be replied to immediately.

Thanks again……

New Craft classes

Hazel Mayow, the Wooden Canal Boat Society’s Volunteer Co-ordinator is organising some craft classes. These may be classes to learn traditional, boat-related skills or just-for-fun crafts.
The first one is an introduction to canal art (or Roses and Castles) and will be led by the very talented Maxine who has recently been working on Hazel the boat.
Her workshop is going ahead this Sunday 29th November, 10am-3.30pm, at the WCBS shop 173 Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.

Please RSVP to Hazel Mayow at hazelmwcbs@gmail.com to reserve a place, as we can take 12 people maximum, but feel free to pass this on to anyone else you know who may be interested.

We’re not charging for this one as such, but a donation towards materials would be greatly appreciated! Maxine also says that if you have anything suitable to decorate feel free to bring it. Painted wood, metal or enamel things like camping mugs are ideal, or have a look in the shop for inspiration! otherwise we’ll be practising on card, so could be ideal for making personalised chistmas messages, signs etc. with a bit of practise.

RSVP! First come first served, and if you then can’t come for whatever reason please let Hazel know so she can offer the place to someone else.

Boat Maintenance help needed

In November 2015 "Forget me Not" went on dock at Ashton Packet Boat Co to have her skeg re-fitted, bottom caulked, shoeing and ice plating renewed and propeller rfurbished ready for lots more Hazel Rejuvenated towing and recycling trips in coming years.

In November 2015 “Forget me Not” went on dock at Ashton Packet Boat Co to have her skeg re-fitted, bottom caulked, shoeing and ice plating renewed and propeller rfurbished ready for lots more Hazel Rejuvenated towing and recycling trips in coming years.

Boat fans in the Northwest, here’s a rare opportunity to practise wooden boat maintenance skills on a genuine 1930s narrowboat!

Chris Leah of the Wooden Canal Boat Society is busy doing repairs to Forget-me-not while she’s out of the water at Guide bridge (near Ashton-u-Lyne). He could do with hands to help with caulking and putting the skeg back on over the next few days, and weather permitting, tarring the sides and replacing shoeing and ice-plating next week.

All of these jobs are fairly simple to pick up, amply assisted with cuppas, and I can personally reccomend the therapeutic effects of smacking things with hammers and glooping liquid tar around. Chris requires only that you let him know in advance if you intend to come and volunteer, by calling him on 07931 952 037 at least the day before.

Hazel at Marple Locks festival

Last week Hazel enjoyed a trip along the Peak Forest canal to Marple for their Locks Festival. It was a great outing and another wonderful opportunity for some of the potential crew trainees to find out about the work involved – especially as her final destination was at lock number 12 !!! Lots of hard work and fun involved.

Here are two photos of the journey, one across the Marple Aquaduct and a lovely one showing her newly painted name.

Hazel on way through Marple Locks Hazel going over Marple Aqueduct towed by FMN


The festival stalls were in the park next to the canal and the Wooden Canal Boat Society had a stall there promoting the Society, selling canal art and donated items, and running a Mini-Toy tombola.  StallMarple stall July 2015.JPGAnne Riley’s canal art was as popular as ever, especially her new range of mugs.

At the boat there was a constant queue of people eager to look inside Hazel.

Boat tours


The volunteers on hand had a really busy, successful day; we couldn’t have done it without Team Hazel – many of whom are shown here with Anne-Louise Black leading in red. Thanks to everyone involved in the trip and on the day.

Team photoRemember, the Society always needs more volunteers – could YOU be in our next team photo? Or help in the shop or boatyard? Do let us know if you’ve any time to offer by a comment on this post.

Hazel leaves the boatyard !!

Hazel is at last where she belongs, on the canal !!

The photos show our long-time volunteer, Maxine, repainting Hazel’s old name and adding her new.

Maxine painting Hazel's name

Then Hazel sets off to the Peak Forest canal towed by ForgetMeNot for a little filming. This trip’s a great opportunity for the new skipper and volunteer crew trainees to practise their new-found skills. Do comment on this post if you’d like to get involved in any way.

Hazel off to Marple with FMN

If you want to see Hazel in all her glory do come along to Stalybridge Boat Gathering at the Carnival weekend 27th and 28th June where she’ll be on show after her trip out on the canal.



Summer events – can you help Hazel?

We’ve got a couple of great events lined up this summer and really need the help of as many volunteers as possible. The events will help the society but they’ll be a great opportunity for volunteers to learn more about handling Hazel and about the canals in general.

Sat 27th and Sun 28th is Stalybridge Carnival weekend and on the Saturday there’ll be a boat gathering in Stalybridge town centre. Hazel needs help to get her there from her current home in our nearby boatyard so she’ll need some fit volunteers to help ‘bowhaul’ her down that stretch of the canal. When in the town she’ll then need volunteers to tell people about her history and her future and the Wooden Canal Boat Society in general. We may also be having stalls on the Sunday in a nearby park which is the finish venue for the carnival procession.

Marple Locks festival will be held on Sunday 5th July. This is a bigger challenge as we’ll need volunteer crew members to get Hazel to Marple over a few days during the week 29th June to 4th July. On the Festival day we’ll again be telling the public about her and the Society and probably having a fund-raising stall.

CAN YOU HELP? Please do get in touch if you have any time to spare at all during these periods for any kind of work – it’s not all strenuous !!. The events are great fun and being part of a team makes them even better. Please comment on this post, ”contact us” via this website or email the Hazel Project Manager, Anne-Louise Black at a.black@wcbs.org.uk THANK YOU !!



An enjoyable way to help the Society is to come on one of our monthly recycling trips. The next ones are APRIL 12th, 13th and 14th because of Easter week falling the first week in April, our usual time.

For those of you who don’t know about these trips – on the first Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of each month we take some of our boats from Portland Basin, Ashton-under-Lyne for about one hour into Fairfield where we collect donations from the houses around. The previous week leaflets are taken round these houses with a reminder of the next dates.

This way we manage to collect a lot of useful items, mainly for selling in our charity shop at 173 Stamford Street, Ashton, but also for scrap or recycling.

The trips are great ways to enjoy the canal, learn about the boats and how to steer them and meet other volunteers.

On the Sunday trips we start at 9.30 a.m. and take three boats, usually Southam with the engine pulling Forget-me-not and Lilith the ”butties” or unpowered boats.We return around 3pm.

On the Monday and Tuesday trips we start at 6pm and just take Southam.

Please feel free to come along whether you are a member or not; it’s a great way to find out about the Society and meet everyone. Just remember to wear old clothes (life-jackets are provided for children) and bring lunch on the Sunday trips. If there’s a group of you it’s best to check with Chris Leah – 07931952037 – as we are restricted as to how many people we can legally carry.

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!

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.