Chelmer Canal Trust, formerly the Friends of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

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The Launch of Buddy Buster

Chelmer Canal Trust and Inland Waterways new Work Boat

Friday, 13th June 2008

With the history of funding applications going back almost a year, the negotiating and order-placing going back many months, and the final arrangements regarding insurance, storage, maintenance etc having recently been made, the launch of our new work boat was a cause for real celebration.

We had invited a range of guests from local authorities, and from supportive organisations, to join us to celebrate this important and significant event - the launch of our new purpose-built work boat. And we were not disappointed. Representatives from Essex County Council, Chelmsford Borough Council, Maldon District Council, as well as representatives of the Inland Waterways Association and the Chelmer Canal Trust honoured us with their presence. Volunteers from Essex and Suffolk Water, who were about to use the workboat to undertake bank repairs, also looked on.

As guests arrived and boarded The Elver they were welcomed William Marriage, Chair of The Chelmer Canal Trust, and Roy Chandler, Chair of Essex Waterways Ltd and light refreshments were served.

At the appointed moment our guests were taken in The Elver from the landing stage at Daisy Meadow into the canal basin at Heybridge where the new boat hung from the crane, ready to be launched.

On a wave from those on board The Elver our new boat was swung round and lowered into the water.

The boat is named Buddy Buster resulting from 'Buddy' being the model name given by the manufacturer and 'Buster' referring to the regular Weed Busting carried out by Chelmer Canal Trust volunteers.

Once in the water the engine was lowered and started and Buster motored out to be viewed by the guests.

As tradition dictates, champagne was opened to mark the launch, but rather than waste it all on Buster only a modest amount was used to 'wet the boat' and the significant remainder was served in champagne flutes to guests on board The Elver.

The opportunity was taken to explain the features of Buster in the management and maintenance of the Navigation and significantly for the Chelmer Canal Trust in the important task of removing floating American Pennywort weed.

We were pleased that our guests took such an interest in the boat and the Navigation in general and pleased, thanks to the cooperation of the skipper of The Elver, to be able to give them a trip up The Long Pond and to explain some of the challenges involved in maintaining this historic waterway.

Within minutes of Buster having been launched it was being put through its paces, being used by a work party who were preparing materials for bank repairs further up The Long Pond. By the time The Elver returned work was well underway and Buster was already a working boat.

Our thanks go to the funders of our new work boat, Awards for All and Essex County Council, and to our guests for helping us celebrate the launch of Buster and showing the interest they did in the work of The Chelmer Canal Trust and Essex Waterways Ltd.

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