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Music man to open historic rally

THE music legend and primetime television star Pete Waterman will return to Braunston Marina in June to open the 18th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival – co-sponsored by Braunston Marina and Towpath Talk.

He visited Braunston Marina last October for the filming of an episode of a new six-part Channel 5 TV series, to be called Barging Britain: Then and Now – where he interviewed the marina owner Tim Coghlan, Between filming, Pete talked of his childhood by the canal in Coventry, and his visits in the 1950s to what is today Braunston Marina, to go fishing with his grandfather, when it was still a working yard. He had seen the working boats then being built and operated, carrying coal from the Midlands down to London. The result was Pete being invited to open to this year’s rally, an invitation he was delighted to accept.

Pete will open the rally on the restored former Samuel Barlow’s butty Raymond, which he may well have seen being built in 1958. Fanfaring him in will be Daventry Brass, playing a selection of his 21 Number One hits including Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky.

The rally’s location is at the heart of the canal network, in the beautiful setting of the historic Braunston Marina and the canal and village at Braunston. But probably most importantly for the boaters and visitors, is the ability for the boats to parade in a sort of figure of eight – a challenge for the steerers, and a spectacular site for the visitors to see and photograph from so many vantage points. And these viewing points include the famous quayside beer tent – the Wet Dock.

The rally also inspires the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the surviving fleet of historic narrowboats, more than 150 of which have already attended various rallies over the years, with some not seen before already booked in for this year.

Other attractions will include the famous Braunston beer tent, fast food, music, Morris dancers, theatrical entertainment and fun.

To help cover the infrastructure costs and to add to the public interest, trade exhibitors are invited to attend. Canal societies with whom the marina is associated are also invited – being offered free marquee or outside space. There will be an admission charge to the public of £20 per car. All profits will be donated, as usual, to canal and local causes, the main recipient being the canal charity, the Friends of Raymond.

The Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival is sponsored by Braunston Marina and Towpath Talk magazine, with support from the Canal & River Trust.

The success of the 15 rallies to date has made this into the Historic Narrowboat Rally and Canal Festival. The event will be held this year over the weekend of 27 and 28 June

Companies mentioned in this article

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