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News article created on 3 July 2015

New boat to give access to all on the Shropshire Union

A new project has been launched to provide disabled and mobility impaired people with the opportunity and freedom to enjoy a trip on the Shropshire Union Canal, one of the most scenic canals in the country.

There are an estimated 16,000 registered wheelchair users in the Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and North Staffordshire council areas and this new free service will help them enjoy the scenery and wildlife while cruising on the canal.

The Overwater Wheelyboat Project will be based at the Overwater Marine at Audlem in Cheshire and will offer an enriching life experience to disabled and special needs children and adults.

The project is being run in conjunction with The Wheelyboat Trust, a registered charity dedicated to providing disabled people with the opportunity to enjoy the nation’s waterways.

The Maughan Lass is a specially designed 5.5m aluminium boat with a drop-down bow door and level open deck, providing complete access throughout for people in wheelchairs and with walking frames and sticks.

Enjoyed by all

Wendy Capelle, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “Our canals offer an oasis of calm and tranquillity and I am delighted that this new service has been launched so that they can be enjoyed by all.”

The project is supported by Overwater Marina in Audlem – voted Inland Marina of the year 2015 – which has donated a mooring berth and will be the operational centre for the specially built boat.

Rodney Cottrell, who started the Overwater Wheelyboat Project, said: “With over 16,000 registered wheelchair users in the area the service will enable people who would not otherwise have access to the canal, to enjoy the Shropshire Union Canal.”

To find out more about the Overwater Wheelyboat Project contact  Rodney Cottrell on 01270 811454 or go to the website: www.overwaterwheelyboat.co.uk