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Skipper’s descendants to name new Norfolk pleasure boat

This aerial shot shows the canal around Ebridge Mill pond.  Picture: Clive and Shirley James.

This aerial shot shows the canal around Ebridge Mill pond. Picture: Clive and Shirley James.

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A pint of Wherry ale will be ceremoniously poured over a new pleasure boat, in honour of the craft which once plied a unique Norfolk attraction.

Ella II. Picture: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust (NW&DCT).Ella II. Picture: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust (NW&DCT).

Ella II will be officially named by descendants of Nat Bircham, skipper of The Ella, the last wherry to use the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

The 19th-century waterway fell into disuse after 1934, when they made their last journey.

His daughter Lilian Smith, who will be at Ebridge Mill pond on Saturday, June 2 at 1pm for the christening, said: “Dad would have been so proud to know that the Ella II is to be named after his Ella.”

The ceremony will be a highlight of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust’s open weekend, on June 2 and 3, centred around Ebridge Mill pond.

Nat Bircham on The Ella at Wroxham Bridge in 1956. It shows the wherry laden with reeds. Picture: Family collectionNat Bircham on The Ella at Wroxham Bridge in 1956. It shows the wherry laden with reeds. Picture: Family collection

Visitors will be able to take trips along the canal on Ella II and her sister boat Sue B.

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