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About Us

There are no barriers to entry - Both boats are designed so that anybody of any age

with any disability or serious illness can spend a day on board with us.


The Willow Trust took delivery of its first boat, Spirit of Freedom, in 1991. She was joined in 1993 by Spirit of Freedom II. In 2003 our first boat was retired and Leonard Matchan took her place. Both our boats are purpose-built and fully wheelchair accessible, giving up to 7,000 children and adults each year a day of freedom they never dreamt possible. The days bring inspiration and help build confidence, proving the joy and benefits of boating are available to everyone.


The Willow Trust boats are moored at
Saul Junction, Frampton on Severn, GL2 7LA

Every weekday between April and October our two boats, Spirit of Freedom II and Leonard Matchan, cruise on the beautiful Gloucester - Sharpness Canal with groups of children and adults with disabilities and serious illnesses on board. Our fabulous picnic spot at Purton offers the perfect place to stop off at lunchtime for those who wish to picnic on dry land.

Both Spirit of Freedom II and Leonard Matchan were purpose-built for the Willow Trust and were designed to provide access for all our guests.  Wide, heavy-duty ramps ensure easy and safe entry onto the boats.

Once on board, facilities include:

  • Wheelchair access to all areas of the boat

  • A lift to the wheelhouse which can accommodate even the largest wheelchairs

  • An adjustable steering unit so that all our guests can take a turn at the helm

  • A spacious foredeck to sit out and enjoy the fresh air 

  • Low windows for wonderful views of the countryside, water and its wildlife

  • Central heating for the cooler days

  • A hearing loop throughout the boats

  • A toilet with electric hoist and changing bed

  • Tea, coffee, squash and biscuits

Each boat has a professionally trained Willow Trust Skipper and a crew of 3 or 4 of our volunteers. All our volunteers are fully trained in all safety aspects around the boats. 

There is ample parking alongside the boats and we provide all our guests with free car parking passes for the day.

Our wonderful volunteers ensure all guests enjoy a very special day out that they may never have dreamt possible.

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