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July 11, 2007

Barge given new lease of life by shipyard workers

A canal barge used for getaway holidays for underprivileged youngsters is back in action.

Iain Lundy

Barge given new lease of life by shipyard workers


Iain Lundy

Glasgow Evening Times




A canal barge used for getaway holidays for underprivileged youngsters is back in action.


And the skipper who will steer the boat, formerly known as the Nolly Barge, said today kids would love it.


The vessel fell into disrepair after the charity Nolly Barge went into liquidation last year.


It has now been given an extreme makeover by staff at the BAE Systems yard at Scotstoun and has been relaunched by new operators – Glasgow-based Unity Enterprise.


advertisementRenamed the Unity, the vessel will take its first young passengers on to the Forth and Clyde Canal on Thursday when it goes from Applecross Basin at Port Dundas to Kirkintilloch.


David Brown, skipper of the original Nolly Barge and the new Unity, said: “I was very emotional when I saw what kind of job they had done with her.


“They had kept it a secret from me. I was so proud to be Scottish and associated with the Clyde shipyards when I saw it.


“The workmanship is brilliant. When I first took it in here, it was in need of some serious TLC.”


Mr Brown, who celebrated his 60th birthday on the same day as the handover, added: “It’s the best birthday present anyone could have given me.


“The kids will love it on here. It is a very happy boat.”


BAE Systems carried out the work for free as part of the company’s Charity Challenge campaign and the workers did the work in their spare time.


Charity Challenge co-ordinator Willie McLachlan said: “I am delighted that the Clyde workforce has been able to get involved with this project and use our skills to make the lives of the people who depend on these barges that little bit easier.


“When Unity approached BAE Systems to ask for our help, we were only too pleased to oblige and I had loads of people from across the site who signed up to get involved.


“Just seeing the faces of the people made all the hard work so worthwhile.”


Two other Nolly barges – renamed the Lazy Swan and the Duckling – have also arrived at the yard to be restored.


Mary Brown, service coordinator with Unity Enterprise, said the work the tradesman had done to restore the barge was “fabulous”.


The charity’s head of service, Margaret McCarthy, said: “The handover was a fantastic day for us.


“The guys at BAE went beyond the call of duty.


“The work they have done is a credit to everyone who works there and the boat will be a credit to the community which uses it.”


The vessels can be hired by anyone, with parties from social inclusion partnerships getting a discount.