Sunshine comes out for canal rally and boat gathering in Bilston

Visitors to the Bradley Canal Rally and Boat Gathering were met with beautiful weather and fun activities this weekend.

Anyone for a cuppa? Dawn Edge from Rugeley on her colourful boat
Anyone for a cuppa? Dawn Edge from Rugeley on her colourful boat

The event, which had to be delayed in 2020, was held on Saturday at the current terminus of the Bradley Canal by Bradley Canal Restoration Society on Bradley Lane, Bilston.

Visitors were treated to a wide array of stalls, a real ale bar, guided tours of the workshops and boat trips along the recently dredged canal.

There were even guided walks along the route of the original canal, including some of the old lock chambers.

Members of 'The Real Peaky Blinders' were at the event. Pictured are Markherbie, Glenn Butt, Robert Swale and Paul O'Riordan

The event was jointly sponsored by the Canal and River Trust and the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) to promote the Bradley Canal Restoration Society’s efforts to restore the waterway down to the Walsall Canal and create a linear nature park.

Visitors enjoy a trip in the sunshine

Martin O'Keeffe, president of BCNS, said "Thanks to all from the society who worked so hard over the weekend to put on the event at the C&RT Bradley workshops yesterday.

"It's success exceeded all our expectations.

"We had originally planned to hold the event 2020 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the canal being constructed through Bradley but things prevented that happening.

The Bradley Canal Rally and Boat Gathering

"The society very much supports the reinstation of Bradley locks reconnecting the Bradley Arm to the Walsall Canal and hopefully the event will have provided some good publicity for this too.

"Looking at positive posts online, everyone who came along enjoyed themselves."

As part of the event, there was even a visit by the last wooden day boat, the last one built by Ernest Thomas of Walsall in 1953.

Glenn Butt and Paul O'Riordan from 'The Real Peaky Blinders'

BCNS celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, marking a significant milestone in seeking to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of Birmingham and Black Country waterways.

A spokesperson for Bradley Canal Restoration Society, said: "We hope everyone enjoyed the first Bradley Canal Festival and hope to make it a regular event."

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