WATCH video of the re-launch of Lily the river cruiser after a two-year major refurbishment project. The 33 passenger seater was originally made to sail on Lake Windermere in 1933 and was acquired by Avon Boating of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1989.
Lily was officially renamed by Lily Walden, aged 13, the granddaughter of Frank Hannan, Stratford’s ferryman. Lily poured a bottle of champagne onto the bow of the boat and said: “It is with great honour that I name this boat Lily.”
An invited list of guests, including Stratford Mayor Victoria Alcock, attended the relaunch which included Pimms and an evening buffet by Stratford Boathouse.
A highlight for many guests was to be some of the first passengers to go on board Lily and taken on a short sail up and down the River Avon.
During his welcome speech before the re-launch, Nick Birch managing director of Avon Boating said: “Welcome to our little party on the river bank. Lily is one of four heritage vessels we have and joins her sister boats Mayflower, Spray and Lotus. We have spent time restoring her keel, replacing 30 oak ribs, a dozen planks, restored her cabin and installed an electric engine. There was more work than we had thought but the Maritime Coastguard Agency has passed Lily and she now becomes part of the natural cultural heritage and publicity of the town.”
Avon Boating has more ambitious plans for renovating its fleet including an 1898 passenger boat which Mr Birch hopes to have back on the Avon next year in time for its 120th anniversary.