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.
SPACE pirate and alien life forms could soon be seen zooming around the Lake District – thanks to a new million dollar movie.
Old Hutton writer and director Rick McLeod has teamed up with a group of American producers to make a science fiction film based on cult television series Firefly.
The US consortium, one of whom has done sound-tracks for Mr McLeod in the past, originally began filming experimental sequences in county – but then the idea turned into a feature-length film.
Although $1 million is a relatively small budget for a movie, Mr McLeod said he was ‘shocked’ when the group gave the figure.
“Last year was a good one for us – we’re still reeling from that – so when they approached me my first question was ‘Are you serious?’
“It’s not easy to make films in Cumbria, especially with the UK Film Council gone. When we had Leslie Grantham here, he was unpaid because he loved the script.
“It’s great to know that our hard work is starting to pay off.”
The film, called Lost Transmission, follows the lonely adventure of Blake, captain of a mining ship, with no-one but his computer to talk to after war breaks out on Earth. But he leaves the planet to find life on other worlds.
Filming is expected to start in early 2012, and will be split between Cumbria and America.
CGI effects are already being worked on by the studio, which created a castle in the middle of Windermere in a previous flick.
Before filming begins in earnest, Mr McLeod is shooting a short promotional video with action sequences in Old Hutton.
And he is looking for ‘23rd century pirates’ to star as extras in a fight scene on Sunday, to be led by a trained fight choreographer.
“We’re seeking punks, goths and heavy rockers. Long or short hair, tattoos and piercings are a bonus but not essential. The more outrageous the look the better,” said Mr McLeod.
Filming will last for between two and three hours and anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants are requested to send a head shot with their email.
Discussions with actors to play the role of Blake are still going on.