Posted: 31/01/2012 10:39:56 by Nigel Nixon

A LAKE District boat is to join a thousand-strong fleet sailing in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession on the Thames this summer.

One of Windermere’s well-worn wooden tourist vessels has been selected by Royal organisers to take part in the event – the largest flotilla in modern times.

More than two million people are expected to watch from the embankments of the Thames as the seven-mile procession steers through London waters.

Cumbria’s own aptly-named participant, The Queen of the Lake, owned by Windermere Lake Cruises, is currently being repainted and refurbished for the spectacular, on Sunday, June 3.

The flotilla will be led by Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal family aboard a barge called The Spirit of Chartwell.

It will sail under 14 bridges, alongside groups of narrow boats, historic vessels including World War Two ships from the Dunkirk beaches and replica Tudor ships.

Managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises Nigel Wilkinson said: “We are delighted Cumbria will be represented at such a high-profile, patriotic event which will inevitably strike a cord with the whole country as we celebrate her Majesty the Queen and her 60-year reign together.

“We hope to be able to involve the wider Cumbria community in this project and to give some younger Cumbrians a day out that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Boat building manager Alex Williamson and operations manager Russell Bowden will lead the team south for the patriotic event.

Windermere skipper Ron Walker will captain the boat on the day itself.

The 15-metre tourist boat, built in 1949, will be hoisted out of the water at Ambleside and driven almost 300 miles by lorry before it is launched on the Thames.

It is a reversal of the ship’s initial northern voyage, 60 years ago, when she was transported to Windermere from the Thames-side town of Molsey, where she was built.

It is not the first time the Queen of the Lake has been given a Royal mark of approval. In March 2010 it carried the Prince of Wales when he visited the Lake District.

Tagged with: jubilee, Queen, flotila


Posted: 04/06/2011 10:14:30 by Nigel Nixon

THOUSANDS of punters flocked to Cartmel Races for the course’s biggest meeting of the year, spread over three days.

The traditional Bank Holiday Monday event attracted a crowd of 16,000 to watch the seven races.

Jonathan Garratt, Cartmel Racecourse managing director, said the bookies did not fare too badly.

“I think it has been mixed; they have had some favourites going in but I’m sure they have had ups and downs.”

Punters successfully backed legendary racer Tony McCoy, who appeared on Monday.

Yesterday, too, proved a rare highlight for racegoers as three Cheltenham Festival horses went on parade for Veterans Day.

Chief Dan George, who is trained just a mile from Cartmel by Jimmy Moffatt, was joined by Mister McGoldrick and Hussard Collonges.

“We have had a lot of people who are on half-term holiday but it’s also the day when racing enthusiasts from all over the country come and have their day at Cartmel because the course is slightly less overcrowded,” said Mr Garratt.

Meanwhile, a racing steward became the first person to join an exclusive Cartmel ‘club’.

Officiating at Saturday’s races signalled a landmark for Colin Vickers — it meant he had visited every racecourse in Britain.

Cartmel Racecourse chairman Lord Cavendish presented Mr Vickers with a souvenir badge, which coincided with the launch of an I’ve Saved The Best Until Last club.

Anyone completing a visit to all Britain’s racecourses with a trip to Cartmel will now receive one of the specially-commissioned badges.

Mr Garratt said: “When I came here I was amazed how many people said they had been to every other racecourse before they tasted the unique delights of Cartmel.

“I realised that they were saving the best until last.”

Tagged with: Horses, Races, Cartmel


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