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.
ZANY Steven Hall is urging people to vote for him after he performs in front of millions of TV viewers on Britain’s Got Talent tonight.
The 53-year-old telecommunications engineer will represent Cumbria when he takes to the stage for the live semi-final with a new dance routine.
Having taken the nation by storm with his eclectic two-minute act, which saw him perform a dance to The Birdy Song, The Macarena and The Twist, he has become an overnight success.
He has gained more than 1.5 million views on YouTube and more than a thousand fans on his official Facebook site.
So, what has he got lined up for the biggest performances of his life tonight?
“It was said: ‘How am I going to follow that?’ Because the element of surprise has gone,” he said.
“So I have taken what everybody said they would expect me to do next and not done it.”
Life has changed for the Burneside Amateur Theatrical Society member since he gained three ‘yes’ votes from Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff, and a standing ovation from the Liverpool crowd.
“It was the second best experience of my life, but I can’t tell you the first one,” he jokes.
“Since then, it has been so busy I haven’t had time to think about it.
"I have been to London several times for interviews and rehearsals.”
Having performed in theatres across the Lake District, Steven set up Comedy Showtime two years ago, a five-person act that puts on performances across the region.
From this, a 10-minute dance evolved which came to form the basis of his BGT audition.
If Steven is successful tonight, he will make it through to Saturday’s live final.
If victorious in the final, he will perform in front of The Queen at The Royal Variety Performance and win £100,000.
“I am nervous and confident about tonight,” he said.
“Nervous because Simon Cowell is back on the show and he is held in such anticipation about what he has thought of the acts that have gone through while he’s been away.
"But I am confident of my routine. I’m looking forward to it.”