South West Herts Narrowboat Project

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Villager News title image

Articles in the local Villager News magazine
[written by one of our volunteers].

July 2010

Image of poster: Dick's Folly needs your lolly.

Dick's Folly is the  community narrowboat based at Hunton Bridge and run by the South West Herts Narrowboat Project [SWHNP]. This year it had to be taken out of service following a number of major problems. Here's the latest update of the fundraising activities by the crew and 'users' of the boat.

Plans are now well advanced for all 70 feet and 30 tons of Dick's Folly to be lifted out of the canal and transported by road to the specialist yard. With the first 15,000 [just short of a quarter of the 50,000 total] in place the refurbishment will begin. Meanwhile the volunteer fundraising team continues to seek out every opportunity to raise the profile, gain publicity and secure the necessary funding.

In last months Villager we reported our achievements at both Ricky Carnival and Canal Festival. The month culminated with the drawing of the Summer Raffle Draw at Abbots Langley Manor Sports Ground. There our good friend Julie from The Villager digitally captured the moment when the winning tickets were drawn by Councillor and Mrs Poole. What a shame that the credit for that was missed out when it appeared in the Watford Observer a few weeks later.

Having hinted of our ambitious intentions, here's the resume of our June activities:
June 12th - Abbots Langley Carnival saw Little Dick's Folly take part in his maiden carnival procession, with young volunteers Jess [10] proudly carrying our standard and Harry [5] with Angi guiding LDF round the traffic humps and pot holes, we were cheered, clapped and congratulated by the enthusiastic crowd, who also enjoyed our 'Dick's Folly needs your oy' placards and could be seen working out the double entendre of his name! Meanwhile, until mid morning we had been on standby for a stall [an indication of how popular this carnival is]. We had placed Judith's car stuffed to the brim ready, on the field and had it set up within minutes of completing the parade with Tombola, Folly Fare keyrings and wooden spoons and Find Dick's Folly game, all to help people part with their oy!

Image of photo from The Villager showing Little Dick's Folly in the Abbots Langley Carnival.

With the 'recce' undertaken, the stop watch watched, the route checked for that day of all days, so dawned the 19th June when Croxley Revels and Kings Langley Carnival happen on the same day, but 4 miles apart. Military planning had Jane's car ready to set up a Revels stall, Angi with Little Dick's Folly in her car and Maureen's car similarly stuffed with a second stall to set up at Kings Langley. We were thrilled to be placed head of the parade behind the carnival queen. Five year old Harry now a seasoned carnival parader swaggering along shouting "Dick's Folly needs your Lolly!" whilst Little Dick's Folly enjoyed the ooh's and aah's and giggles over his name!

As we came to our stall, we were approached by characters from Rickmansworth Players Wind in the Willows, asking to borrow the boat. "Sorry" said I, "we're out of action this summer." "Not the big one, this little one" she said pointing at LDF. "Of course" said I. What a hoot, but no time to linger [or explain further this month] as leaving others to run the stall, LDF was bundled into my car and off to Kings Langley Carnival to join up with the second team of DF volunteers. Here LDF watched the dancing before being introduced by the MC and taking a quick spin round the arena and then up and down the field enjoying having coins put in his money boxes and people laughing at his name.

Well, what an achievement, and an opportunity here for me to thank all the volunteers who gave of their time and efforts to raise awareness of the project's plight. The support received from the local community has been much appreciated, from reading about us in The Villager, The Hemel Gazette and The Watford Observer, seeing us at the canal festival and sharing their memories of trips on Dick's Folly. I was particularly moved when a mother steered her teenage daughter to our stall, pointed to pictures of the boat and announced that she had spent a few days on board when she was about the same age, that it was the best holiday of her life!

Don't forget if you're looking for a children's gift with a difference, that Dick's Folly and Little Dick's Folly feature in the new story Pirate Goes to a Festival by Janul, available via Amazon and you can get a preview at The Pirate's website.

The Project volunteers have set themselves a hard task to raise 50,000 for the refit of Dick's Folly and whilst as yet we don't have all the funds in place, we are confident that we soon will. We continue to seek out sponsors, encourage donations and take up any fundraising opportunities towards that goal. If you or your organisation can help in any way, please contact Peter James 07905 307107 or email

Angi Naylor - Project volunteer

Dick's Folly narrowboat.


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