Willow Trust guests from Gloucester, Chipping Campden and Tewkesbury were joined by a special guest recently when The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek came onboard at Saul Junction to accompany them on a gentle afternoon cruise on the Gloucester Sharpness canal.
The Willow Trust takes 7,000 guests with serious illnesses and disabilities onboard every year and all completely free of charge.
Willow Trust Skipper Keith Busby or Buzz as he is known to guests and the volunteer crew members is a former member of the Royal Engineer Yacht Club. Buzz explained to Bishop Rachel: ‘It is a fantastic thing to do and I love getting people out on the water, particularly those that wouldn’t usually have the chance’.
Phoebe Johnson and her carer Becky Price were two of the guests onboard. Becky said: ‘Phoebe has been up and driven the boat today and she loved it’.
‘It’s not very often that we are able to take all of the residents of our supported accommodation out at the same time, so this is really a valuable experience for us all’.
Trust administrator, Liz Rowland who has been involved with the charity since the very beginning in 1989 explained: ‘Our aim is to give all our guests a really special day and we have some amazing people looking after our wonderful guests. Every time I come onto the boats, it lifts me. The Willow Trust is loved by so many people’.
Bishop Rachel said: ‘The work of The Willow Trust is tremendously important in providing a sense of freedom to people who may have some limitations on their access to new experiences’.
‘Steering the boat with Cecil Hunt was a particular highlight for me and it was wonderful to see the volunteers and staff enjoying the company of the guests on the water’.
To see more pictures of this lovely sunny afternoon onboard please go to our Willow Trust Facebook page -> The Willow Trust