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.
A VERY small Beatrix Potter drawing has sold for nearly £50,000 at an auction in America.
The three-and-three-quarter inches by six inches ink and watercolour had been expected to sell for up to 37,500 at the Sotheby's auction, in New York, but reached £47,438
The miniature, called 'Guinea pigs going to their garden...' was among 193 original illustrations sold by wealthy American couple, Kendra and Allan Daniel. The painting depicts four guinea pigs following a fifth along a path carrying garden tools.
A spokesman for Sotheby's said: "Early in 1893, when she was in her twenties, Beatrix Potter borrowed a number of guinea pigs from her friend, Miss Paget. One, named Mr Chopps, proved to be no problem but another, named Queen Elizabeth, apparently 'took to eating blotting paper, pasteboard, string and other curious substances and expired during the night. A pair of gardening illustrations date from this time: four guinea pigs following a blue-coated guinea pig and four guinea pigs working under the guidance of the blue-coated guinea pig.
"These were later redrawn in 1922 and used in Potter's book Cecil Parsley's Nursery Rhymes."