FoR News June 2018

Neil Hankin’s school run 7th June

On the Tuesday after The Crick Boat Show, Neil and his crew of Melvyn Forman, Roger and Diana Golder and Nick Lake, took Nutfield & Raymond up to Bridge 42 near North Kilworth, where the boats were left securely moored on the towpath until Thursday the following week, when Neil and Melvyn, together with Neil’s wife, Jean and John Blay returned to move them up to North Kilworth Wharf.

Here, a party of 12 excited, year-six children from Husbands Bosworth C of E Primary School embarked for a trip through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel to Honey Pot Farm Bridge (Br.46). This outing, which Neil and Jean have been organising for a number of years, is now an eagerly-awaited fixture in the school year. As Deputy Head, Alison Vickers, said in her recent letter to us, “The children love the trip and particularly enjoy finding out about the history and traditions of the Raymond and the canals. It has now become a tradition for the year 6 pupils and it is one of the trips they really look forward to.” So, as ever, thanks are due to Neil and Jean, and their willing crew, for providing this service on behalf of FoR, and also to North Kilworth Wharf for kindly supplying life jackets, as they do every year.

After the school children had disembarked at the bridge, the boats continued north for two and a half miles to Bridge 52, where they were winded, with considerable difficulty, Neil reports, owing the winding hole being badly overgrown. They then returned the six miles and one lock up to Welford Wharf.

Welford Weekend 9th and 10th June

Nutfield & Raymond at Welford, 10 June 2018

This was the second year that we have organised a special Friends of Raymond gathering at Welford and, once again, the sun shone on us all weekend. CRT were very helpful in reserving our mooring in the “Finger”, a small basin at the wharf just big enough for a pair of boats. And with our sales gazebo pitched beside it on the freshly-cut grass (thanks to Dave Wilkinson from Welford Marina) we had a very attractive setting for the event. Late on the Saturday afternoon, Neil took Nutfield, with small group of Friends, on a trip down the Welford Arm. And later, about a dozen members gathered for supper in The Wharf Inn, where we had again reserved the Canal Bar for a Friends social evening.

Although our Welford Weekend is as much a social occasion as a fundraising event, we had good number of visitors, both to the boats and our sales stall, and we signed up two new members as well. So, over the weekend we managed to raise £277. £60 of this was due to Nikki Evans’s cakes which went like, well, hot cakes, and had all but disappeared by close of play on Saturday. And a further £42.50 was added by Nick Wolfe as the proceeds from jam and marmalade sales at Langley Mill, when he and Sarah Mallet took his boat Aldgate up to the Erewash Canal anniversary event over the Crick Boat Show weekend.

So, thank you to everyone involved in helping with, and attending the weekend but, in particular to Neil and Jean for having the original idea and helping throughout, to Nikki for her amazing cakes, and to Nick and Sarah for raising money for FoR at Langley Mill. And we must not forget special thanks to Nick (again) and Robin Bishop for their impromptu Towpath Taskforce work on the Friday afternoon, clearing and tidying the path beside the boats and painting the bollards. We hope that CRT have noticed!

The path by The Finger after Nick and Robin’s work, 8 June 2018

Jam ‘Ole Jam returns to Kingshott 11th June

Three years ago, Roger and Diana Golder were invited by their friend Alison Eales, the Director of Music at Kingshott School in Hitchin, to attend the school’s annual music day, when the children were singing a medley of First World War songs. One of their songs, “Oh! It’s a Lovely War” refers to “plum and apple jam” so Roger and Diana went well supplied with Jam ‘Ole Jam to give them a taste of the real thing. This year, to mark the centenary of the end of the war, Alison had arranged for another medley of WW1 songs to be part of the performance, and Roger and Diana were invited back, provided they came with even more jam! Diana said, “Roger and I again jammed 124 pieces of bread so they could have a taste. At the evening concert we told them a little about Raymond’s history and suggested they might like to buy a jar of jam. That night we sold 50 jars and subsequently, the remaining 27 jars that were left, were eagerly snapped up.” The sale of 77 jars of jam raised £192.50. So, a big thank you to Roger and Diana, to Alison for having the idea and to Headmaster, Mark Seymour for allowing us to sell the jam.

Back home to Braunston 13th June

At 9.30 on Wednesday 13th June, Nutfield & Raymond left Welford for the journey home. Neil Hankin, Roger Golder and Nick Lake made good time to Watford Top Lock, arriving around 2pm, where progress then came to the all-too-familiar, grinding halt. But once into the locks two hours later, and with the additional help of Diana Golder who had arrived by car, the pair flew down the flight and headed off for Braunston about 5pm. With Roger and Neil in charge of the boats, Diana and Nick performed a quick car-retrieval from Welford in time to rendezvous with Brian Seymour at Braunston Top Lock and meet them on their arrival at 6.40pm, for the home run down to the marina. All the same, by the time the boats were tied up and put to bed, and the crew ready for sustenance in The Old Plough, it was gone 8 o’clock. So, a long day, but a safe return.

Braunston Historic Narrow Boat Rally
23rd and 24th June

This year’s Rally was an extra special one for FoR as it coincided, almost to the day, with the date on which Raymond was launched 60 years ago. Fittingly, Nutfield & Raymond led the opening parade. And at 11 o’clock, on the Saturday morning, Nutfield, steered by Sheila Suchet, the wife of this year’s special guest David Suchet, under the watch of Will Hewitt, passed beneath the marina bridge as David himself, on board Raymond with Alice Lapworth and our own guest of honour, Aubrey Berriman, declared the rally open.

Tim Coghlan directs the opening parade from Nutfield,
Sheila Suchet and Will Hewitt at the helm, 23 June 2018.

David Suchet declares the rally open, with Aubrey Berriman and Alice Lapworth, 23 June 2018.

After the opening parade, Nutfield & Raymond returned to the marina arm for the 60th Anniversary celebration (see below) where Raymond remained on show, while Nutfield took part in the afternoon parade, crewed by Nick Scarcliffe and Ian Mulford. Then on Sunday, the pair were together again for the final parade, crewed by Roger Golder, Nick Scarcliffe and Alice Lapworth.

The unusually glorious June weather no doubt played a part in helping us to another very successful event but, with a combination of sales, bucket collections and other donations, we finished the weekend £715 better off.

Nutfield & Raymond in the arm, 24 June 2018.

The FoR sales gazebo, 24 June 2018.

Roger Golder gives the brass sales items a shine, 24 June 2018.

While Brian Seymour waits for customers, 24 June 2018.

Raymond’s 60th Anniversary celebration

The highlight of the Historic Narrow Boat Rally weekend, for FoR, was the celebration held for Raymond, to mark the 60th anniversary of her launch. The event took place on Saturday 23rd June and the talking point of the occasion was, undoubtedly, the birthday cakes made and decorated by our very own Nikki Evans.

The cake designs were composed using artwork, supplied by Chris M Jones, of the boat’s name and a bunch of genuine Ron Hough roses. Nikki had the designs printed on to icing sheets which she then applied to the top of the cakes. The smaller cake was just as a standby, but slices were offered to visitors in return for a donation so that, by Sunday afternoon, only the crumbs remained.

Nikki Evans’s cakes, 23 June 2018.

Six candles, one for each decade, 23 June 2018.

At about midday, when the boats had returned to the arm after the opening parade, a group of well-wishers gathered at the gazebo, directly opposite the spot where Raymond was launched on 11th June 1958. Among those present were some of the people who have been associated with Raymond, and with the work of FoR, down the years, including members of Frank Nurser’s family, honorary members and craftspeople whose skill has helped to maintain the boat in her present condition.

Friends of Raymond’s guest of honour was Aubrey Berriman who spent most of his life building wooden boats and, 60 years ago, came up from Devon to work for Samuel Barlow’s and build Raymond. Ironically, this was Aubrey’s first working narrow boat and, as it turned out, Barlow’s last. But at the age of 92, Aubrey still had more than enough puff to blow out the candles, before handing over to David Suchet to cut the cake.

After leading a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday”, Tim Coghlan presented us with a cheque from Braunston Marina for £2,000 and then cake and bubbly were served to all.

Aubrey Berriman blows out the candles, 23 June 2018.

And David Suchet cuts the cake, 23 June 2018.

Chairman Chris R Jones receives the cheque on behalf of FoR. Left to right: Tim Coghlan, David Suchet, Chris Jones, Sheila Suchet and Aubrey Berriman, 23 June 2018.

Our thanks are, of course, due to Tim, for making the whole thing possible, for supplying the liquid refreshment and, most importantly, for Braunston Marina’s generous donation. But special thanks must go to Nikki for producing two very beautiful and delicious cakes (they were vanilla sponge and cream, by the way) and to Chris M Jones, without whose artwork the cake designs would not have been possible.

A dampener to end the month

As a counterpoint to the euphoria of the 60th Anniversary celebration, we have discovered that Raymond appears to be leaking. After the recent spell of dry weather, the amount of water that has accumulated under the cabin floor and at the back end of the hold is clearly not rainwater. We are hopeful that any leakage will be found to be due to the caulking below the cabin not being fully watertight, an issue that may be overcome by re-caulking against the new shearing Pete Boyce fitted over last winter and which removed the void that had previously existed behind the hull planking, and which appears to have prevented the caulking from being packed at tight as it should be. We will be arranging for Raymond to be docked for inspection once the summer season is over and will keep bailing meanwhile. We will report again on this issue after the docking.

Signs of a probable leak, 28 June 2018.

Dates for July

Don’t forget that Nutfield & Raymond will be attending the following events in July:

Saturday 21st/Sunday 22nd June: Cosgrove Canal Festival

Saturday 28th June: Linslade Canal Festival

If you have not already done so, and would like to volunteer to help with sales and, particularly, with show-rounds at either of these events, please contact Diana Golder, our Volunteers Coordinator. Or if you are in the area on one of the weekends, please just pay us a visit.

Diana will be announcing arrangements and dates for moving the boats to and from both events very shortly.

Nutfield & Raymond at the Linslade Canal Festival, 29 July 2017.

All photographs by the editor unless otherwise stated.

Braunston Historic Rally 23-24 June 2018

This weekend is the annual Braunston Historic Rally and Nutfield and Raymond will be the stars of the show.  The event will celebrate Raymond’s 60th birthday and we are delighted to welcome David Suchet on board for the Saturday morning parade.

The weather forecast is fantastic so we hope to see you there…

Happy Birthday Raymond!

On this day in 1958, Raymond was launched at Braunston.  

Raymond was the last wooden working boat to be built in the UK.  She was mainly used to carry coal from the Midlands to London and was initially towed by the motor Roger, and later by Nutfield.

During its working life Raymond was operated by Arthur and Rose Bray and her son Ernie Kendall.  One of the more famous jobs was carrying coal from Atherstone to the Kearley & Tonge jam factory at Southall, known as the “Jam ‘Ole Run”.


To celebrate, a birthday cake will be cut at the Brauston Historic Gathering on Saturday 23rd June 2018.

Friends Gathering – Timings

This weekend is the Friends Gathering at Welford Wharf (GU Leicester Line).

The timings are:

Saturday 9th June

Stall & Boats 10:00 – 18:00

Evening meal 19:30

Sunday 10th June

Stall & Boats 10:00 – 16:00*

* The end time is approximate based on the number of people still around at the time.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2018 Crick Boat Show and the week ahead

Nutfield & Raymond at the show beside the Waterways Museum’s Sculptor.
Picture: Nick Scarcliffe

The Crick Boat Show, over the Bank Holiday weekend of 26th to 28th May, was our first major event of 2018. Because we did not attend the Ricky Festival this year, we were spared the usual slog of bringing the boats up to Crick from Rickmansworth in four days. So, around 9 o’clock on the morning of Thursday 24th May, Nutfield and Raymond set off from Braunston Marina, with Nick Scarcliffe in command and crewed by Norman and Anita Prior and Chris M Jones.

First stop was above the Nelson Lock at Braunston where we had arranged to meet Ryan Dimmock with his fuel boat Southern Cross, to take on enough diesel to last the summer.

Ryan brings Southern Cross alongside Nutfield. Picture: Nick Scarcliffe

Also with us at Braunston Locks was Waterways World photographer Bobby Cowling (on the fore end of Raymond above) to gather material for a proposed article in WW’s Canal Boating Times. We will let you know when we have the publication date.

Braunston Lock 2, Nick Scarcliffe on Nutfield. Picture: © Waterways World.

Raymond heads for Braunston Tunnel. Picture: Nick Scarcliffe

By the time the boats arrived at Watford Locks around 1 o’clock, the sun was shining and the temperature had soared into the mid-20s so the two and a quarter hour wait for the locks did nothing to dampen the crew’s spirits. And once in the locks, the boats flew up the flight in record time, thanks to additional lock-wheeling volunteers, Nick Scarcliffe’s impressive skill at flicking the butty’s bow-hauling line under the bridges and the personal attention of FoR’s Graham Lane who, by happy coincidence, was on duty as a CRT volunteer lockkeeper.

Raymond in Lock 2 at Watford. Picture: Nick Scarcliffe

The boats finally arrived at Crick Marina soon after 4pm, a good trip under the circumstances. But all was not over yet. The organisers had put the historic boats on to a new site for this year’s show and, with only inches to spare in the space available to turn full-length boats on to the allocated moorings, all present were again relieved to have Nick Scarcliffe in charge of the tricky manoeuvre.

Friday was a busy working day, with Robin Bishop, Roger and Diana Golder, Brian Seymour and Nick Lake, setting up the sales gazebo, organising the stock, arranging signage and cleaning and polishing the boats. But by 10 o’clock on Saturday morning Nutfield, Raymond and the team were ready to meet the public.

The show itself turned out to be something of a mixed blessing this year. The sun shone (most of the time) and the rain poured only when the show was closed. We had an unusually high number of visitors to the boats and the money we collected in bucket donations reflected this. Roger Golder even conducted a show-round entirely in German (his fourth to date) and the generous donation it elicited is a credit to his linguistic skills and evidence that FoR volunteers have many hidden talents.

The FoR gazebo (on the left) behind the boats. Picture: Nick Scarcliffe

All the same, the volunteers on the boats were stretched to the limit and we could certainly have used more help with show-rounds. But the sales team have reported disappointing returns this year. This is due, we believe, largely to the siting of the sales gazebo at the top of a steep bank (pictured above). It was obvious that visitors to the boats were reluctant to then climb the hill to visit the sales stall.

The trustees will be taking a view on this year’s Crick Show and considering a response to the organisers. We will report further on this after the trustees’ meeting at the Braunston Historic Boats Rally.

On Tuesday 29th May, Neil Hankin and Melvyn Forman, assisted by Roger and Diana Golder and Nick Lake, moved the boats from Crick Marina to their present location just south of North Kilworth Wharf.

The Friends of Raymond would like to thank all those who played a part in this year’s Crick Boat Show, namely: Robin Bishop, Sue Brown, Melvyn Forman, Roger and Diana Golder, Neil Hankin, Will and Clare Hewitt, Chris M Jones, Chris R Jones, Nick Lake, Graham Lane, Norman and Anita Prior, Nick Scarcliffe and Brian Seymour.

If you would like to have been on this list and think you can play a part at events in the future, please get in touch with FoR’s Volunteers Coordinator, Diana Golder at because we would welcome any help you can give.

This week

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Neil Hankin, Melvyn Forman and other helpers from the Husbands Bosworth area will pick up the boats from North Kilworth to take a party of year six children from Husbands Bosworth school on an adventurous trip through Bosworth Tunnel. This outing, which Neil has been doing for a number of years, is now a firm fixture in the school’s timetable and has become something of a rite of passage for pupils in their final year at the school.

After the school run, Neil and his crew will take the boats up the Welford Arm to Welford Wharf where CRT have reserved the mooring for us in “The Finger”, a small dock just big enough to accommodate Nutfield and Raymond.

Mooring restriction notice Welford Wharf 29 May. Picture: Nick Lake

Welford Weekend

Next weekend, 9th and 10th June, we will be holding our second Welford Weekend. This is a small event run purely by The Friends of Raymond to attract local visitors and Friends to come and visit the boats. FoR’s Nick Wolfe will also be there with his working boat Aldgate.

Welford Weekend June 2017. Picture: Nick Lake

Last year’s event was a great success and enjoyed by everyone who came along. This year, we will again have our sales stall on the grass beside the boats where, in addition, Nikki Evans will have a selection of her mouth-watering cakes for sale. On Saturday afternoon we will run a short trip for Friends on Nutfield, down the arm and back. And on Saturday evening, we have reserved the Canal Bar in The Wharf Inn for a Friends social evening to which all are welcome.

Welford Weekend June 2017. Picture: Nick Lake

The boats will be open to the public all day Saturday and Sunday. So, whether you are a new Friend or an old one, if you would like to drop by and say hello, or join us on Saturday evening, we would love to see you. Booking for Saturday night meal at the pub is essential. For more information or to book in for the meal, please contact .

Nutfield & Raymond – Bringing heritage and photography together …

Last Sunday; 13th May, Nutfield and Raymond played host to a group of photographers from “TimeLine Events”. TimeLine Events, bring heritage and photography together to recreate scenes from a past era.

Retired working boats Nutfield and Raymond provided perfect subject matter. Even better, the pair are based in Braunston, a place of special historic importance in the history of the working boats and families of the canal network. Braunston was a central hub of this old transport system, being home to the Nurser family and dockyard. The village church was a place that drew the boat families together for weddings and funerals and came to be referred to as the “Cathedral of the Canals”.

Nutfield and Raymond showing off their amazing colours in the sunshine.

Painted Boats

The pair of boats looked magnificent in the spring sunshine, showing off all of the hard work that has been done by members of “Friends of Raymond” over the winter months to restore these fine old boats to their colourful best.

Handling a Pair of Working Boats

Handling a pair of working narrow boats takes skill and practice. The motor boat (Nutfiled) tows the un-powered butty, (Raymond) while travelling along the “pounds” of the canal. To pass through the wide locks, the two boats need to be alongside each other. This is a skillful maneuver; remove one strap at the correct time, use the power of the motor to give the butty just enough momentum and direction, remove the second strap allow the butty to slide alongside the motor in the lock chamber. Of course when the lock is ready, the boats have to be “singled out” again, so that the butty can be towed.

Will, Clare and Phoebe play the roles of working boatman and family.

Luckily, Friends of Raymond, have some experienced steerers. The pair were very skillfully worked for the day by Will Hewitt and his family, who have a lot of experience handling a pair of old working narrowboats.

Journey Through Time

The photographers joined the boats at Braunson marina. The stoves had been lit in the back cabins of both boats, the smoke from the chimneys creating an authentic industrial atmosphere.

Boats at Braunston Marina – photo courtesy of Nick Scarcliffe, another very skilled steerer.

The pair worked up the Braunston flight of wide locks, providing plenty of photo opportunities. FoR members had to skillfully keep out camera shot, while working the lock paddles and gates.

To pass through Braunston tunnel, the group of photographers had to be on board the boats, as there is no footpath. Once inside the tunnel, they had the challenge of working with very little light and we look forward to seeing their creative flair in the resulting shots.

Inside Braunston Tunnel – photo credit David Pond

At Norton junction, the boats were “breasted up” (tied together) and made the turn for home. A break for lunch allowed for a visit to the local pub for refreshment.

Lunch Break for the FoR crew.

For more information about Time Line Events visit

Preserving our heritage, keeping Nutfield and Raymond in such good condition and true to their original livery, build and style takes work and funds.

If you are interested in becoming a “friend”, getting involved, or making a donation to the trust, it would me much appreciated. If you have fundraising experience, WE NEED YOU, please get in touch.

Antique Stove For Sale

A very generous supporter has offered us a Guidwife antique stove to sell to raise much needed funds. It has now been listed for sale on ebay.  The auction ends on 25th April 2018.


Raymond Latest News

Here is the latest report from our roving reporter Nick Lake:

Raymond is now in the wet dock at Braunston Marina. Peter Copeland managed to solve most of the jigsaw puzzle posed by the remaining bits of cupboard and shelving and, with a few modifications, got everything to fit. So Raymond’s cabin has, at last, got a familiar look about it. I think Peter reckoned there are a couple of puzzle pieces missing and one bit left over. We’ll consult with Pete Boyce on that when he’s back.

Nick S took the cloths etc off while Peter and I skived off to Gongoozler’s for a sausage sandwich, and when we returned Raymond was back to normal – but we did bring Nick a cup of tea for his trouble!

There are several bits of rot in the cants and top bends at the fore end, if Raymond can stay under cover, we’ll have a chance to do some filling, rubbing down and undercoating ahead of Will Hewitt doing (at least some of) the repaint on the docking weekend on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th April.

If you are able to help at the Docking Weekend please contact Diana at

Raymond Cabin Work Update

The finished deck in the hatches and the stern cupboard, and one of the drain holes, both of which are now in place.

Pete has cleaned out and secured the drain pipes and we will be using a flexible drain-clearing rod to keep the pipes free from muck (if you have one in your garage not being used are you able to donate it to us?). Later in the summer when the boat is fully dried out, Pete would like to refit the dam to prevent water running back under the cabin floor but for the time being there’s no water sloshing around under the floor as Graham went over on Friday and pumped it all out.

This picture shows the cabin floor with the new floorboards in place.

The following pictures shows the new sheering on the port side, the tongue and groove lining Pete Boyce has fixed to the sheering on the starboard side above where the side bed will go. At the top of the picture you can see he’s left the Anser pin nut exposed so it can be retightened when necessary. He’s done the same on the other side as well. Pete says that’s how they were on nb Lucy, we can cover them with removable patches and scumble over them at a later date if required.

What a difference a day makes!

Pete has busted a gut in the last 24 hours to get as much finished. The pictures show the side bed and the shelf for the stove in place and also the new boards that Pete’s fitted either side of the step. There is a view of the cabin from the hatches which shows the carcass of the table cupboard in place – the rotten bit that Pete was repairing is on the side below the stove shelf.

All that’s left to be done next weekend is to get the shelves, doors and drawer in – which Pete assures me probably won’t be entirely straightforward! Pete says there are few small “making good” jobs to do, like filling in some small gaps between the cupboard and the sheering. The final picture shows the tongue and groove lining on the port side above the stove shelf.

With the help of Pete’s boat Rat, we moved Raymond down to the towpath by the marina entrance. Raymond will need to stay there until Thursday.

Special Guest – David Suchet CBE

We are delighted that David Suchet CBE will be at the helm of Nutfield and Raymond at this year’s Braunston Historic Boat Rally Parade on Saturday 23rd June at 11:00am.

David is best known for his role as Agatha Christie’s Poirot for 24 years which earned him a British Film and Television Award (BAFTA) nomination. He is also a renowned in theatre work and is a published author.

Suchet also has a long association with the waterways and is vice-president of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust.  He was also officially voted in as chairman of the River Thames Alliance in November 2005.  At the July 2006 Annual General Meeting of the River Thames Alliance, he agreed to continue being chairman for another year. He is a Patron of the River Thames Boat Project.

We look forward to welcoming David aboard…

Photo source: Wikipedia