We would like to invite all members to the General Meeting to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 11th October in the shop at 173 Stamford Street, Ashton under Lyne.

Please let us know if you intend to come as we need numbers for seating.

Obviously at this time the society has a great future to look forward to. Hazel has been out and about on trips with volunteers and local sponsors to test the running of the boat and give the trainee crew some ‘hands on experience’ with guests on board. She will soon commence her new role and the other boats will hopefully be able to get more attention. During talks with the Canals and Rivers Trust about moorings for Hazel several opportunities came up for us to work with them and some very new (for us) and exciting project days have been enjoyed with more to come.

We are always looking for more volunteers, members and trustees. If you are interested in enquiring about any of these roles please comment on this post, email us or come to the meeting whether currently a member or not. Thanks to all our members for your continued support and we hope to see you on the 11th.

Guinea Pig Boat Trips

‘What ??’ I hear you cry !!!


Do not panic. No animals will be harmed during these trips !!

The guinea pigs will be our members, sponsors, funders and volunteers who have been invited to come along as a Thank You on one of Hazel’s first public trips. Our volunteer crew members have had their skills honed to perfection by Chris Leah, Hazel’s skipper and Hazel Mayow, Hazel’s volunteer co-ordinator, and they, plus Anne-Louise Black. Hazel’s Development Officer, have ensured that the boat has had all the tiniest snags on the snagging list de-snagged so – now it’s time.

We shall be running Hazel as a well-being boat for folk who have poor mental health so, of course, we want those trips to be relaxed and trouble-free.

Photos and reports will follow – watch this space.



CAN YOU HELP -as a volunteer restorer, skipper, crew member, finance person or trustee?

Restoring and using historic wooden boats takes lots of time and dedication.
Our wonderful team of volunteers, under the expert guidance of Hazel our volunteer co-ordinator, are working non-stop on the last tiny details on Hazel-the-boat also Forget Me Not and Southam.

The boatyard in Stalybridge never looked so tidy, all ready for Lilith’s turn for a bit of t.l.c.

But behind all that ongoing activity is crew and skipper training sessions, a shop to run and manage, accounts to keep on top of…………………….so, if you can help at all in any way please do contact us. You don’t even have to live near Ashton under Lyne as fund-raising, membership and newsletter management and various other things can be done online on the comfort of your own settee !!

Looking forward to the emails coming flooding in……………….. or come and see us in person at the General Meeting Wed 12th Aug at 6.45 in the shop at 173 Stamford Street, Ashton. Thanks

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 THANK YOU !!


We have volunteer opportunities for Crew Members and Skipper for ‘Hazel’: The Well-being boat

A little background to this – Hazel is a wooden-hulled, narrow canal boat with a heritage that dates back to 1914, and we are seeking volunteers to crew and skipper her.

This website charts Hazel’s early history as a working boat, carrying coal and other goods for the salt and chemical industries in Cheshire during the first half of the 20th century. From 1948, she became a fairly basic leisure craft and passed through the hands of various different owners.

In 1988, Hazel was donated to the Wooden Canal Boat Society. The years had taken their toll and a great deal of work was required in restoring the hull, before Hazel was put back into the water in May 2013.

With Big Lottery support, work has continued on Hazel’s superstructure, and we are now keen to see her back in regular use, with enthusiastic crew, skipper and passengers. Once things are in place, Hazel will begin her new role, providing short respite breaks and sponsored well-being trips for people recovering from stress, depression and other illnesses. It is for these reasons that Hazel is nicknamed the ‘Well-being Boat’. Whilst crewing and skippering the Hazel will demand skill and responsibility, it will also be a rewarding, enriching and life-affirming experience.

We’re therefore looking for people who are moderately fit, sociable, reliable and who love multi-tasking !!!

In return we will train you in boating skills of all kinds and the trips will enable you to work in the outdoors, in peaceful natural surroundings enhancing your confidence and abilities.

To find out more or to apply to volunteer, please contact Hazel Mayow on 07879 073 071 or



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!