In honour of Peter, our Skippers retirement we asked him to share his thoughts on his role on the New Horizons. We wish you the happiest retirement Peter and all your fans and friends will miss you!
My Time as Skipper of the New Horizons
I have been very fortunate to have been the Skipper of the New Horizons canal boat for the past 10 years. During this period I have thoroughly enjoyed time spent sailing through beautiful landscapes and helping people with disabilities to experience sights and sounds that may otherwise have been denied to them. It has been hard work at times with maintenance jobs required to keep the boat operational as well as sailing her but it has been a real passion and hard to imagine doing anything else.
There is nothing quite like seeing the transformation of teenagers, initially reluctant to join the trip, relaxing and enjoying themselves for a few hours and then at journeys end not wanting to leave the boat. To see their happy smiles is priceless. We also run many trips for local care home residents who love watching nature from the comfort of the boat. It opens up a different world and seeing things like haymaking in the field sometimes brings back warm memories of their younger days.
Nature is ever present, over the years I have seen foxes and badgers and even deer from Lyme Park swimming ahead of the boat before leaping onto the towpath and heading back into the park.
You never know what you’re going to come across, every day is different and every group has a contrasting experience. You also meet local people who use the towpath for walking or riding bikes and of course local fishermen. Everyone is very friendly and I think they feel that the New Horizons is an important part of the local community. They put a smile on your face even on cold windy days.
The New Horizons has also in recent years played a very important role in bringing Father Christmas to Marple, usually on a Friday night in early December. To see the event grow and grow each year has been heartening and I am only sorry that the pandemic this year means that he will not be able to make the trip. Although one of his Elves did assure me that he will still be coming to bring presents to the children of Marple on Christmas Eve.
I had mixed feelings as we entered the last week of the season, sad to be saying goodbye but also looking forward to spending more time with my family, especially my dear wife Susan who didn’t tend to see a great deal of me during peak season. It will also be a relief not to be checking the weather forecast every morning.
I would like to thank all the skippers and volunteers for their help and friendship over the last ten years, they made my job so much easier. The cards received will be treasured and the generous gift voucher to mark my retirement will be spent on a bench for my garden.
Finally, I would like to wish the New Horizons all the very best for the future and may she continue to bring happiness to all who sail on her.
Peter Sharp, Skipper. Nov 2020.
Dear Volunteer / Supporter,
End of Season Update
Sorry I can’t address you by name as I would like to but as you will appreciate this letter is going to many.
Just a very quick update at the end of what has been the strangest cruising year.
Since we resumed operation on the 19th July we have been catering for a slightly different clientele, much smaller groups and any families. Feed back suggests that the changes to operation have been well received and that our service users have appreciated the opportunity to experience the countryside in a COVID secure way.
We were very grateful to both the Macnair Trust and Marple and New Mills Round Table for their support in ensuring this could happen.
We are currently in the process of recruiting a skipper for next season. We made a presentation to Peter in September and are extremely grateful to him for everything he has done during his time as our skipper.
We had planned to have a different style of Santa event at the mooring in early December but the current lockdown situation means that this is not possible.
We do have some fundraising updates.
We have been selected as one of the Charities to be supported by the Co-op Local Community Fund between October 2020 and October 2021. The particular project is to raise funds to enable us to offer 40 community trips to celebrate our 40th Birthday.
Money is generated by Co-op members selecting us as their charity and through the sale of own brand products in the local stores. With a new store opening in Church Street Marple this month the timing is good.
Our cause page is https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/45899
If you are already a member please select us as your cause for the funding year – you don’t have to live in Marple to do this, supporters from anywhere can choose us.
Don’t forget over the Xmas season that you can support us by using
www.easyfundraising.org.uk when you shop on line. This covers many major stores and can link you to Amazon Smile.
I will be in touch again once we have a new Skipper with early Calendar dates for next year!
40 years of Community Boating in Marple!!!!!
Very best wishes as always.