Thanks for civic support

MEMBERS of the Kennet & Avon Canal boating community have thanked a civic leader for standing up for their way of life.

Organisers of the newly-launched Floaty Boat Fund thanked Bradford on Avon Council leader Cllr Dominic Newton for his public support.

The move followed recent online criticism of their boats and way of life by some local residents on social media.

Some people have complained about the materials left on the canal towpath by boaters and the state of their boats.

Alice Young, of Julian House in Bath, said: “The positive relationships we’ve built setting up the Floaty Boat Fund in Bradford on Avon are priceless.

“Massive thanks to the town council and the local Area Board for standing up for the community so publicly.”

The thanks follow recent remarks directed at Chris Ackroyd and his canal boat the Raggedy Rawney, which his wife and family found “deeply offensive”.

In a social media response, Mr Ackroyd said: “We bring a lot to BoA other than our hard-earned cash.

“For most, half the charm of walking the cut to the Cross Guns is to see the boats, and with many it’s just to see the boats.”

Cllr Newton said: “We know that people find the detritus along some parts of the towpath upsetting.

“The boater community are working to address it in various ways, from launching the Floaty Boat Fund (supported by Wiltshire Council Area Board and Bradford on Avon Town Council) to engaging with individual boaters to address specific problems.

“In the same way, there are other parts of the town that could be improved aesthetically, yet members of the public tend not to bang on doors and be personally abusive.

“There have also been comments from members of the public in the Wiltshire Times, and even comments in council meetings, questioning the value, and even the position of the boaters as part of this community, based on council tax returns and whether they’re registered to vote.

“Collectively both Ideal Bradford councillors, and I’m sure I speak for Liberal Democrat colleagues too, find that wholly unacceptable.

“Where something is less than ideal in the town, let’s come up with solutions to fix it, not attack other members of our wonderful community.”

The boating community has recently launched the £2,000 Floaty Boat Fund with financial support from the town council and Wiltshire Council’s Bradford on Avon Area Board.

The fund is held in trust by Bradford on Avon Community Area Network (BoACaN) while the boaters finalise their own working group and way forward.

The K&A boating community wants to use the funds to help boaters in financial need.

It also wants to organise a series of practical courses, including advice on the dangers of using woodburning stoves in small spaces and how to service and repair diesel engines.

This is Wiltshire

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