‘Eyesore’ boat on Northampton lake restored and dedicated to ‘inspirational’ community leader

The boat will now be used a viewing platform and will help to make the Northampton estate look more inviting

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 8:30 am
The newly restored boat on Dragonfly Lake. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

An ‘eyesore’ boat on a restored Northampton lake has been revamped and dedicated to a former community centre manager who died last year.

The restoration of the lakes was completed around a year ago, but there was still a ‘rotting, stinking’ boat on Dragonfly Lake, which filled with water and accumulated rubbish, while its wooden exterior rotted.

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The boat before the renovations.

Peter Strachan, funding development adviser from Growing Together Northampton, said: “After the lakes were restored, there were a few things that could still be improved.

“One of those things was the boat. It was a mess and people complained about it a lot. It was an appalling eyesore, but people also have very happy memories with the boat.

“So we wanted to restore it and we’d been talking about it for some time.

“We wanted to restore it in a way that it couldn’t go back into reverse and end up filling with water again.”

The viewing platform boat has been dedicated to Andrea McAuliffe. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

The team filled the boat in, painted it and made it into an attractive viewing platform to bring it back into use.

On Friday (September 10), a small ceremony was held to reveal the boat and dedicate it to Andrea McAuliffe, who was the chair of the lakes renovation project until she died in September last year.

Andrea joined Bellinge Community House in 1987 and retired from being its manager 24 years later.

Although she was very active in St. Andrew’s Church, Great Billing, retirement did not suit her and she joined Growing Together in 2012 and was later elected to be the first chair of the Lottery funded programme.

The boat was officially unveiled at a small ceremony on Friday (September 10). Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

Peter describes Andrea as ‘inspirational’ and is proud the boat project has been dedicated to her, in the form of a plaque in her memory close to the boat.

Peter added: “The boat looks really nice now. It’s an attractive centrepiece for the estate and something that we can be proud of.

“It offers views across the lakes and the water quality has visually improved.

“It has environmental benefits, as well as community safety and leisure benefits."

Peter says the feedback from residents has already been positive, as they have said what a difference the boat makes.