Rutland Sailability crew ready for River Thames royal flotilla

Photo: SM300512-010ow'Official launch of Rutland Sailability's Jubilee boat. Crew members from left, Martin Sutcliffe, Bill Riddington, Ian McNair, John Deane, Craig Nairn and Geoff Willerton.
Photo: SM300512-010ow'Official launch of Rutland Sailability's Jubilee boat. Crew members from left, Martin Sutcliffe, Bill Riddington, Ian McNair, John Deane, Craig Nairn and Geoff Willerton.
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CREW members from Rutland Sailability are looking forward to celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee by sailing along the River Thames.

The club, which makes sailing accessible to all, was invited to take part in the 1,000 strong pageant by the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard, who was present at the launch of the boat on Wednesday.

The boat will form part of the seventh flotilla in the pageant, as part of the recreational motorboats section, and will be recognisable by its large sails made out of netting.

The boat, a drascombe longboat called Wally Goldsmith, has had to be adapted to include an engine. It was originally donated to the club in 2005 by the Rotary Club of Oundle.

Six crew will travel on the boat including chairman of Rutland Sailability Martin Sutcliffe, who said: “The boat looks really good. I am so pleased with it.

“It is a one-off unique experience and we are all really looking forward to it. It was a great honour to be accepted to take part in the event.”

Rutland Sailability had to get special permission to include sails and is thought to be the only boat in the pageant to include sails.

Each sail has been embroidered and the highest sail has the insignia of the Queen’s award for the voluntary service in purple, which Rutland Sailability was awarded in 2010. One of the sails also has the Rutland horseshoe emblem and another has a diamond.

The boat is also decorated with flags designed by pupils from primary schools across the county.

The boat will travel to London tomorrow and will join the pageant, which starts upriver of Battersea Bridge and finishes downriver of Town Bridge.

The Royal party, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, will travel on a boat as part of the centrepiece of the event, which is expected to draw huge crowds to the river banks.

The boat was launched yesterday and more than 100 people, who have supported the project, attended including the High Sheriff of Rutland Bart Hellyer and representatives from Rutland County Council.

The boat will be on display during the picnic in the park at Burghley House in Stamford on June 13, which will be attended by the Queen.

And the crew will also be talking about the experiences as part of the Friends of Rutland Sailability’s annual reception, which is on Wednesday, June 27, at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel.

Tickets are £15, which includes drinks and canapes, from Mike Baumber on 01780 740289 or e-mail michael.baumber@btinternet.com