New pleasure boat christened with an ale decades after her namesake plied the same waters
- Credit: Archant
It may be traditional to christen new boats with champagne, but a far more appropriate beverage was found for a vessel named after a bygone wherry.
Ella II, the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust's new pleasure boat, had a Woodeforde's Wherry ale poured over its bow on its maiden cruise.
Lilian Smith, daughter of the Ella's skipper, Nat Bircham, did the honours, watched by four of Nat's granddaughters. The family then took a short boat trip along the canal which has been under restoration for more than a decade.
Trust chairman Ivan Cane said: 'It was fantastic to be able to welcome the descendants of Nat Bircham to come and name Ella II in memory of that last wherry on this canal.'
In 1934 the Ella was last wherry to sail the 19th-century canal before it fell into disuse and became choked with vegetation.
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The trust runs weekend afternoon pleasure trips along a one-mile stretch of the waterway, from Ebridge Mill Pond to Bacton Wood lock.
Proceeds from the trips are ploughed back into trust project.
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Volunteers, together with owner Laurie Ashton of The Old Canal Company, have now began work to restore Ebridge lock, one of six locks along the canal which was once nearly nine miles long.
Other than boat trips, other attractions at the canal include canoeing, paddleboards, model boats, a bar and barbecue.
For more information on the boat trips ring 07585 160772.