29th September 2014
Mr Patrick Cummings, the Headteacher, officially named the Eckington School boat on Sunday, 28th September. It is called Madeline. This is in memory of Madeline Siddall, a student at the school who died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 15.
The simple ceremony, held at Hollingwood Hub, was attended by members of Madeline’s family, staff and students from the school and members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust.
Mr Cummings spoke about Madeline’s qualities as a very popular and able member of the school community. He thanked the Siddall family, the staff and students who have worked on the boat and members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, who have helped with the project.
Four years ago, the school made the decision to buy the shell of a 40’ steel narrowboat and took delivery in October 2011. Over the course of the following 2½ years, a dedicated team of students and staff from the school has fitted out the boat completely.
This work has included everything from the engine to the seats, the kitchen area to the toilet. The verdict of all those who have seen the finished article is that the standard is fantastically high.
During the early months of 2014, several members of staff and some students were trained to be skippers by members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust.
Madeline was finally put into the water at Staveley Town Basin on the Chesterfield Canal on 26th June in time for the Chesterfield Canal Festival, where it was inspected and admired by many members of the public.
Since then, the school has made much use of Madeline, firstly on an Activities Week and subsequently for familiarisation cruises. A full course of Science work, based around the boat, is currently being written. Madeline will soon be used by Eckington feeder schools.
Madeline is used by the Chesterfield Canal Trust to run public trips from Hollingwood Hub on Saturdays. Originally only scheduled to run in the summer holidays, they have proved very popular, so the season has been extended until the end of October. They will restart in April. All takings are split equally between the school and the Trust. Click here for details.
For the full story of the boat, click here.
Mr Cummings making his speech.