The Avon Navigation Trust and the Canal & River Trust will have a new handle on water music when, with Bancroft Cruisers’ help, they recreate the late Queen Mother’s two boat trips to relaunch the Avon and the Stratford Canal as navigable waterways.
Members of The Orchestra of the Swan’s wind and brass section will play aboard two floating pontoons at the July 4 event to mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the canal and the 40th year since the river was reopened from Evesham to Stratford-upon-Avon.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother travelled by narrowboat to officially open the canal in 1964, and to celebrate the river relaunch in 1974.
VIP guests will include representatives of the Royal Engineers and Birmingham’s Winson Green Prison, who both sent many teams to help with the original work.
There too will be Job Hutchings, whose father led the drive to save the canal, and Nicholas Barwell, whose pioneering dad is the Avon’s local hero. They will unveil commemorative plaques.
Jo Bell, canal laureate, Tony Hales, chair of the Canal & River Trust and other representatives from the Canal & River Trust will be in attendance.
The River Festival events then start, at approx 6:30 pm, with music and a barbeque at Stratford Marina.
There is an all-day exhibition of historic photos and footage close to the Basin.