WALKERS on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal towpath were astonished recently to see HRH, The Princess Royal, steering a 57ft-long barge into Sheffield city centre.
Princess Anne had flown in by helicopter to view the work of the Ethel Trust, an award-winning charity, providing day and residential waterways experiences for disadvantaged groups in South Yorkshire.
With barges based in Sheffield and Thorne, near Doncaster, the trust was celebrating the arrival of its brand new state-of-the-art community barge, Pearl.
Having viewed the advanced technology on the boat, including a hybrid engine assisted by solar panels, the Princess Royal, an accomplished sailor, took over the steering from the skipper for the return trip into Victoria Quays.
Back on shore, Princess Anne generously took time to talk to every one of the trust’s volunteers individually, before officially naming the barge by unveiling a commemorative plaque.
The Ethel Trust is currently recruiting new volunteers, and if you can spare two days per month, then check out the trust’s website www.etheltrust.co.uk or email [email protected] for more details. No boating experience is required as full training will be provided.
If you know of, or are part of, a community group that would benefit from the trust’s services, then get in touch and experience these fantastic barges!