Chippenham Canoe Club held a naming ceremony for its new katakanu before trying out the disabled-friendly boat for the first time.

It was named Jemima Florence Daisy in memory of 10-year-old ski accident victim and canoe club member Jemima Prees.

The £4,000 boat and trailer, made possible by donations from Invacare UK, Specialised Orthotic Seating and Sport England, will be used to encourage all people to enjoy paddlesport, regardless of age or ability.

The first crew to take the katakanu down the slipway included children as young as eight and grandparents in their 70s, some of whom had never paddled before.

Canoe coach Julia Mannering said: “We had a short ceremony where I said a few words about Jemima and used a bottle of water to name and say the time-honoured words for launching, ‘May God bless her and all who paddle in her’.”

For more about paddle-ability courses starting in April, visit or leave a message on (01249) 737453.