Clog dancing, folk singing and a duck race were just some of the highlights at Grantham Canal Society’s (GCS) seventh annual Discovery Day.
More than 500 visitors from as far afield as London, Swindon and even Australia enjoyed a variety of stalls, displays, birds, bats, music, dancing and live entertainment at the event on Sunday, which helped to raise over £2,300 to help restore the canal to its former glory.
The event was formally opened by chief executive of the Canal and River Trust Richard Parry and presented by mistress of ceremonies, Suzie Sparkles.
Seventy volunteers, including an army of cake bakers, cooks, boat crews, barbecue stokers, car park attendants, as well as volunteers from other societies and groups, worked tirelessly throughout the day.
Chairman of GCS Mike Stone surprised Richard with a cheque for £20,000, which has been raised by the society over a number of years including income from the boat trips, Bank Holiday events, illustrated talks, donations and from the buy-a-brick campaign.
Mike said: “People like to give to the Grantham Canal Society, because they know that we are a purely volunteer organisation and every penny they give will benefit the canal.”
After being chosen as Sainsbury’s charity of the year, Sainsbury’s ambassador Carol Bamber was also at the event to present a cheque for £9,410 towards the restoration of locks 14 and 15.
The Creation Station provided lots of colouring, arts and crafts to keep the youngsters busy.
Live entertainment was provided by The Trent Navigation Shanty Crew, ‘The Navvies,’ who performed favourites including, ‘Here Come the Navvies’, ‘Rollin’ Down to Old Maui’, ‘Farewell and Adieu to you Spanish Ladies.’ Local folk singer Gary Cadwallader was also back for his third year.
A display was given by the Lancashire clog dancers the Maids of Clifton, and visitors were invited to take a boat trip on the canal society’s narrowboat ‘The Three Shires,’ as well as taking guided walks down to see the work happening at lock 15, Woolsthorpe Middle Lock. But one of the main highlights had to be the Dirty Duck Race, dubbed ‘the silliest duck race ever,’ to round off the day.
Up to 250 fearless, albeit plastic, ducklings had to negotiate various obstacles on the canal including ‘lovers leap,’ ‘scary tunnel,’ ‘the wicked witch,’ and ‘the spider’s web’ with the duck eating spider, while being cheered on a huge crowd.
Organiser of the Discovery Day Tony Jackson said: “Sainsbury’s kindly donated vouchers for the first, second and third winners of the duck race. They was even a meal for two prize for the duckling that came in last. However we are still waiting for the second prize winner to come forward with their winning ticket, number 100.”
He added: “We all had such a wonderful day and everyone throughly enjoyed themselves. We even had a family on holiday from Australia who were visiting the area and decided to attend. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.”