NABO chair­man Stella RIdge­way aims to im­prove the lot of boaters

Bat­tling for boaters’ rights while lov­ing her wa­ter­way life, Stella Ridg­way has boat­ing in her blood thanks to fam­ily

Canal Boat - - This Month -

1 What first at­tracted you to the wa­ter­ways? The way of life; the com­mu­nity; I sub­se­quently dis­cov­ered that my great grand­fa­ther was born and worked on a nar­row­boat in Mid­dlewich, so it is ob­vi­ously in my blood.

2

Which is your favourite canal or wa­ter­way? The Peak For­est Canal; you start in Ash­ton, go through the out­skirts of Manch­ester and fin­ish in Wha­ley Bridge with stun­ning views of the Peak District on the way; you also have the most pic­turesque set of locks in the Marple Flight as well as Marple Aque­duct.

3

Tell us about your boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence... Not as much as we would like as my ill­ness has put paid to our cruis­ing; we have done the Cheshire Ring. I sailed yachts as a teenager in New Zealand.

4

What do the wa­ter­ways have to of­fer the coun­try? They are the green cor­ri­dor across the coun­try and of­fer a haven of peace.

5

What- do the wa­ter­ways need most? They need pas­sion­ate peo­ple who be­lieve in their con­tin­u­aion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions as well as a struc­tured main­te­nance pro­gramme and im­prove­ment in the num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties and what is of­fered to boaters.

6 How long have you been in­volved with the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Boat Own­ers? For three years; we joined after the new T& C were pub­lished.

7

What can NABO do to help the wa­ter­ways? We rep­re­sent our mem­bers’ views at the high­est level with the ap­pro­pri­ate wa­ter­ways au­thor­i­ties. We are mem­ber-led and mem­bers rep­re­sent mem­bers.

8

Is there any­thing you’d par­tic­u­larly like to achieve while you are chair­man? En­hance the aware­ness of NABO in the boat­ing pop­u­la­tion to in­crease mem­ber­ship.

9

What do you think of the Canal & River Trust? Like any large or­gan­i­sa­tion go­ing through change, there is room for im­prove­ment. They can be siloed in men­tal­ity, which can then equate to dif­fi­cul­ties; es­pe­cially con­cern­ing boaters. On the whole they are try­ing to change their men­tal­ity and we are all cus­tomers now.

10

What are your fond­est wa­ter­ways me­mories?

For many years, we lived next to the Bridge­wa­ter Canal; walk­ing to Dunham Massey one win­ter day, we were fol­lowed by a robin who chirruped at us. It prob­a­bly would not have hap­pened on a street.

11

Who would be your ideal cruis­ing com­pan­ion? I al­ready have one...my hus­band Chris.

12

Have you ever fallen in? No.

13

What did you want to be aged 12? A teacher.

14

What do you think of peo­ple on the canals? It is a mi­cro­cosm of so­ci­ety; al­beit a bit more Bo­hemian. There are

coal­boats, traders, boaters who only get the chance to cruise at week­ends, boaters who live in mari­nas, boaters who cruise, boaters who are at on­line moor­ings, hire boaters; but we all share one thing – we love the wa­ter­ways and wish to pre­serve our way of life.

15

What is the best time of day on the wa­ter­ways? Early morn­ing, at sun­rise when the mist is ris­ing on the wa­ter. It’s mag­i­cal.

16

What is your proud­est achieve­ment? Apart from the birth of my two chil­dren; grad­u­at­ing with a 2:1 hon­ours science de­gree aged 40 ( I was shat­tered at the end of it).

17

Where would you like to go on a dream cruise? Around New Zealand.

18

What are you read­ing at the mo­ment? A Place Called Win­ter by Pa­trick Gale.

19

Tell us about your spare time in­ter­ests... Walk­ing our two Labradors; read­ing and play­ing on­line strat­egy war games.

20

What su­per power would you like to pos­sess? Time travel.

Pic­turesque – the Peak For­est Canal at Marple’s locks

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