New lease of life for trust’s narrowboat

First published in News

Narrowboat the Rebecca, which has brought smiles to the faces of disabled and elderly people, and has undergone a makeover to mark The Bruce Trust’s 25th season.

The trust provides purpose-built holiday canal boats for to disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people along with their family, friends and carers.

It was set up by David and Louise Bruce in 1988 after they sold Bruce’s Brewery and the Firkin pubs in London.

The couple invested £80,000 in building the Rebecca, which can offer accommodation to up to 12 people, and which cruised the Kennet and Avon Canal until 2008.

After four years she is coming out of retirement having undergone a £120,000 refurbishment, which was paid for through a capital appeal.

The 24-year-old hull of the Rebecca was deemed to be sound for at least another 25 years so, rather than spend £250,000 on building a new boat, the trust decided to redesign and refurbish her.

The trust started fundraising for the refurbishment in February 2013 and had reached its target by January. As well as donations, activities were organised including an eight-mile walk, a concert by the Kennet Accordion Orchestra and a sponsored swim.

On Saturday guests at the 25th anniversary celebrations will be able to take a look around the Rebecca at Great Bedwyn Wharf. There are now four boats in the fleet; 12-berth Rebecca and Hannah, 10- berth Diana and six-berth Rachel.

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