Registered Charity No. 702429


For many years Doreen and Eric Wood have held an "Easter Coffee Morning" in their canalside garden in Whittington to raise funds for Lichfield & Hatherton. This popular event has now outgrown their garden and so this year Lichfield Cruising Club kindly agreed to let us use their grounds at Huddlesford Junction on the Coventry Canal near Lichfield. Since Easter was so early this year we decided to change the date as well, hence the "May Day Gathering".

Boats moored outside the Lichfield Cruising Club and along the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford Junction

Cruising Club gates open to welcome visitors
Minnow moored outside the clubhouse

On Saturday 30th April we started with a Fish & Chip Supper at 7.30pm followed by an Auction in the Marquee. The auctioneer was our President Eric himself and £200 was raised for our funds. A great start to the event!

Sunday May 1st from 10am to 4pm saw the “Extended Coffee Morning”, with a Cake Stall, Book Stall, Bric-a-Brac, Barbecue, Lace Plates and Hand-painted Glassware, plus a number of games on the field. Lichfield Cruising Club joined in, providing Coffee, Afternoon Teas and a Licensed Bar in the clubhouse, and a Boat Jumble in the marquee. Chairman Brian Kingshott was there to chat to members and guests, and took great pleasure in meeting our 1,500th member Edward Blacksmith who has been granted honorary Life Membership of the Trust and his "Hearing Dog" Molly who was granted honorary membership of the Pets Club! Brian also presented a certificate of honorary Life Membership to Pat and Mervyn Ainge in recognition of their very generous donation to the Restoration Fund.

Peter and Michael busy on the barbecue
Trish and May on the Cake Stall

Brian presents Pat & Mervyn Ainge with their
Life Membership certificate
Brian greets our 1500th member

Jan's Austin 7 on display
Stalls on the field were kept busy

Impromptu entertainment from the crew of Skylark

On Sunday evening the marquee was cleared of stalls to make way for the entertainment. Dave Bartley delighted everyone with his "Black Country Poetry and Banter", which he donated free of charge to help our cause. Thanks Dave, you were great and certainly got everybody laughing. Folk Band "Claret" provided the music for the evening. They soon had us all clapping and singing along, even Barry Kenn who admitted it wasn't usually his "sort of thing". For more information about Claret visit their website at

During the evening the Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor Mrs Gwyneth Boyle, assisted by Eric Wood, auctioned a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne which had been signed by David Suchet (see News item about our visit to the West End). The winner at £50 was our Black Country comedian Dave Bartley, who confessed his wife is a great fan of our Vice-President.

President Eric Wood and the Mayor of Lichfield auctioned
a bottle of champagne signed by David Suchet.
The winner was our entertainer Dave Bartley
And to follow the champagne .... another serving of Claret!
Photos by Bob Williams and Steve Szulc

Something we have learned about Lichfield Cruising Club is that their catering is magnificent and this time was no exception. Lynne served up jacket potatoes with assorted fillings on Sunday night, followed by a magnificent cooked breakfast for 60-70 boaters and helpers on Monday morning.

Apart from a spectacular thunder storm in the (very) early hours of Sunday morning, even the weather stayed fine for us. We are extremely grateful to Lichfield Cruising Club for their hospitality and to everyone who donated cakes and bric-a-brac or helped in any way. We raised £1,100 for the Restoration Fund and had a very good time doing it. See you all at the next one!

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