Dredgers clear waterway for festival boats

CONTRACTORS have been appointed to dredge a silted lock to ensure boats can reach a national waterways festival taking place in St Ives. Concern had been raised that boats heading for the Inland Waterway Festival this August would be turned back at the lo

CONTRACTORS have been appointed to dredge a silted lock to ensure boats can reach a national waterways festival taking place in St Ives.

Concern had been raised that boats heading for the Inland Waterway Festival this August would be turned back at the lock at Salters Lode, Downham Market, Norfolk.

However, John Adams, the Environment Agency's Anglian waterways manager, has confirmed that dredging work will start next month. If dry conditions in the summer result in some silting up again, the dredging will be repeated in the weeks before the boats start arriving for the festival.

More than 248 visiting boats have already booked their places at the Inland Water Authority's National Festival and Boat Show, which has now been named St Ives on Water, over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The festival is being billed as an event for all the family, and a programme of free waterway activities for children is being planned.

Among the attractions will be a wild west show in the main arena, the Raptor Foundation from Woodhurst will give falconry displays and there will be fairground rides. For small children, there will be Rosie and Jim readings in the bandstand and a chance to try circus skills.

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The festival, at Hemingford Meadow, is organised by volunteers to raise funds for the organisation which campaigns for improvements and maintenance on the waterways system.

As part of the festival, IWA is also inviting school pupils to make "a thing of beauty out of waste materials". The winners will receive prizes and framed certificates at a ceremony at Ramsey Rural Museum in early July. So far, seven schools have signed up to the project. The work will be displayed in the museum and also in the main marquee at the festival.

INFORMATION: To exhibit at the festival, contact 0870 241 0237, to join the volunteer team contact Ann Myall, the personnel manager, on 01488 682504, or see www.waterways.org.uk

Anyone interested in contributing to the festival is invited to the next public meeting on Tuesday, February 20 in the Methodist Church Schoolroom in St Ives, from 7pm.

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