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].

November 2010

`Dicks Folly` is the community narrowboat based at Hunton Bridge and run by the SWHNP South West Herts Narrowboat Project. 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.

Well, I've written my copy in some strange places but today is very fitting. I'm in the Canal Museum in London, on a wet half term holiday Tuesday, with god-daughter Jess of Abbots carnival fame, and friend Alfi. This was one of the museum activities days and active we were! On arrival we had a short trip on the Pirate Club Narrowboat Viscount [visit their website]. Then we spent the next four hours engrossed in making paper boats and plaster plaques, having faces painted, and through a quiz, learning about the history of the Regent's Canal and narrowboat life. Added to this, we discovered the origins of the building, where a Mr. Carlo Gatti dug an ice house, later he started selling his famous ice cream, of which we got a chance to both make and eat!

Our last task of the day was to hand over a few leaflets about Dick's Folly for the museum's information board. A very enjoyable outing was had by young and old, familiar and unfamiliar with canal. And in the words of Mr. Gatti, "Try it and see".

The Big Lift.
Remember, remember 5th October, the day that the big lift finally took place after a couple of earlier false starts. On the 4th, Little Dick's Folly came down to the towpath to wish DF well and then John, Pete and Angi gently brought DF into Cassio Marina, where the skilled hands of JP Marine Services positioned the crane and adjusted the lifting straps under the boat until they found the centre. The following morning, along came the road transporters and DF was lifted out and swung across the yard and lowered onto the flat back. Due to work commitments I was unable to see the grand lift but John has given a grand commentary as well as putting photos on our website. Notable hiatus moments happened when a strop snapped whist still in the yard and there was a bit of a palaver exiting into the Rickmansworth Road. The yard in Worcestershire, experts in building community boats have not only agreed a price but agreed to store the boat rent free whilst we continue to get all the money in place. We have £17,000, Starline's initial estimate being £39,000, prior to the Project asking them to add on some extra work ... the engine mountings being one of them.

Stopgap Awards
On Friday 22nd I attended the award ceremony for the young people who have completed their time at Stopgap. I was impressed by the amount of courses they have completed to advance themselves into employment and honoured to find that the Chief Executive was using the link with Dick's Folly as one of his examples of working together. As part of this event the young people gave personal testimony of their time. Ben gave a resounding appreciation of the day spent cleaning Dick's Folly, including emptying the sceptic tank and the day spent aboard. We look forward to a continued working relationship with them.

Fundraising Events
November 7th at 3pm. - we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to both raise funds and be a part of The Abbots Langley Winter Acoustics series of concerts to be held at Abbots Langley Community Centre. The first of four is entitled Life and Times - Where the Working Boats Went. A show in drama and song about the waterways past and present, including genuine canal facts and stories, 12 new songs, songs rarely heard and old favourites and you are encouraged to join in. Tea, coffee and cakes will be available in the interval. There will be a raffle, the proceeds of which will go to Dick's Folly. Entrance tickets are £8. Enquiries to or call Tim and Lesley on 01932 264536. The remainder of the series dates are in 2011: 6th February, 6th March and 3rd April.
November 27th - Kings Langley Christmas Lights Festival. Members of the Project and Little Dick's Folly hope to be involved.
February 11th 2011 - get your 6 person team registered now for Dick's Folly Quiz Night, at the Community Centre in The Knapp, Kings Langley. £10 per person, including refreshments. the winning team will be given the acclaimed title 'Clever Dicks'. Email John Blake if you are interested:

Dick's Folly's raffle prizes
We are pleased to announce and at the same time thank two individuals who have come forward and promised to make specially created fruit cakes in the shape of Dick's Folly for our fund raising activities. Alongside this we have our specially dressed Dick's Folly collection of teddys.

Are you a collector of Gund Teddys?
How much would you give for a Gund 12 inch brown teddy bear, with the ear tab Gotta Getta Gund still in place? It's probably circa 1983. Here's a local chance before it goes on Ebay. Contact Angi via The Villager.

We continue to seek out sponsors, encourage donations and take up any fundraising opportunities towards our £50,000 goal. If you or your organisation can help in any way, please contact Pete James on 07905 307107 or email him

Angi Naylor Project Volunteer

Dick's Folly narrowboat.


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